Menu JTA Search

Suspected Jewish Underground Member Who Escaped Arrest is Nabbed at Bg Airport Upon His Return from

Ira Rapoport, the only suspected member of a Jewish terrorist underground in the West Bank to escape arrest, was taken into custody at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday on his return from the United States. He was released on bail by a Petach Tikva magistrate Monday pending formal charges.

He is expected to be charged with membership in a terrorist organization and participation in attacks on prominent Palestinians in the West Bank. According to his lawyer, Yaacov Weinroth, a plea bargaining agreement has been reached with the prosecution.

Rapoport, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Shilo, was sent to the U.S. as an emissary of the Gush Emunim. When the Jewish underground members were rounded up two years ago and brought to trail, Rapoport remained in the U.S. rather than face charges.

He told reporters at the airport that he stayed there only to be with his mother who was ill with cancer. He said the disease is now in remission and he decided to return to Israel with his wife Orit and five children, because he wants to raise his children in Israel.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the Gush Emunim leader from Hebron, and other West Bank Jewish settlers continued to maintain their vigil outside the homes of Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Vice Premier Shimon Peres in support of demands for Presidential pardons for underground members still serving their prison sentences.