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Ami Popper

In May 1990, Ami Popper, a 21-year-old former dishonorably-discharged soldier, put on his army uniform and asked men waiting at a bus stop in a southern Israeli town for their identity cards. After confirming they were Arabs he lined them up and opened fire, killing seven. Within an hour, he was arrested by Israeli police. Israel Radio reported that he claimed to have been distraught because his girlfriend had decided to leave him.

After his crime, Arab riots led to the deaths of seven more Palestinians, and 700 injured at the hands of IDF forces. Popper was charged and convicted with seven murders in March 1991[?].

The murders, followed by his incarceration, have made Ami Popper an important symbol for the Jewish Fundamentalist movement. He has married the adopted daughter of Rabbi Meir Kahane's son, Benjamin Kahane, leader of the Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives) movement. Kahane Chai claims that only Jews have a right to live in the Holy Land. Popper's sentence is the subject of regular appeals by settlers and other Jewish Fundamentalists who demand his release as a "political prisoner."

In February, 1999 Popper's sentence was commuted from six life terms to 40 years. He could be released on parole in 33 years.

See also: Kach, Baruch Goldstein, Irgun, Lehi.


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