TEL AVIV (Dec. 10)
Fugitive Jewish underground member Ira Rappaport pleaded guilty in Jerusalem district court Wednesday to causing “serious bodily harm” and membership in a terrorist organization, in connection with the June 1980 car bombing that severely injured former Nablus Mayor Bassam Shakaa.
He was released on 10,000 Shekel (about $6,500) bail pending sentencing in 10 days. Rappaport, the only suspected member of a Jewish terrorist underground in the West Bank to escape arrest two years ago, was taken into custody at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday after returning to Israel voluntarily from the United States.
The “bodily harm” charge was the result of plea bargaining between the prosecution and Rappaport’s lawyer, Yaacov Weinroth. More serious charges against him were dropped. Rappaport, who was sent to the U.S. as a Gush Emunim emissary, failed to return to Israel when other members of the Jewish underground were brought to trial.
He claims he was not trying to evade justice but stayed in the U.S. to be with his mother who was ill with cancer. Her disease is now in remission, he said. Rappaport will support his appeal for a light sentence by presenting in court a ruling by an Orthodox rabbi in the U.S. forbidding him to leave because of his mother’s health.