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Bewildered Father of the Killer Expresses Sorrow over Son’s Deed

May 23, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Chaim Popper, father of the 21-year-old man who confessed to gunning down Palestinian workers Sunday near Rishon le-Zion, expressed sorrow and bewilderment Tuesday at the “inexplicable, crazed act” of his son Ami.

Sitting red-eyed in a darkened room of the family’s modest two-story house in Rishon le-Zion, Chaim Popper sent his family’s condolences to the families of the seven Palestinian men killed in the assault and expressed hope for the speedy recovery of those injured in the shooting spree.

The father said he had been aware of his son’s problems in the army, where he had served several sentences in the stockade for absence without leave and disciplinary infractions.

In the end, Ami received a dishonorable discharge, after serving half the normal three-year stint of duty.

But Popper said he had been unaware until Sunday of Ami’s claim that he had been sexually assaulted by an Arab at the age of 13. “That has been a new trauma for me and the family,” the father told Israel Radio.

His son, he said, had never shown any extreme tendencies toward either end of the political spectrum. Ami was only interested in having a good time, he said.

At the end of the radio interview, Chaim Popper said sadly: “Sons are sometimes guilty of sins, but they always remain your son.”

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