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
He left the scene in a car belonging to one of the Palestinians, but was
taken into custody after contacting police.
עמי פופר; born 1969) is an Israeli
convicted of murder.
Popper, a former dishonorably-discharged
soldier, put on his army uniform on 20 May 1990 and
asked men waiting at a bus stop in the Israeli town of
Rishon Lezion 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
After his act, Arab riots led to the
deaths of seven more Palestinians, and 700 injured.
Israel Radio reported that Popper
claimed to have been distraught because his girlfriend
had decided to leave him. Later he told police that he
had been raped by an Arab when he was 13 and had
commited these killings out of shame and a desire for
Popper was charged and convicted of
seven acts of murder in March 1991. In prison he became
religious and in June 1993 he married a Canadian woman
from a family of Kach activists. They had three children.
In February, 1999 Popper's sentence
was commuted from seven life terms to 40 years.
Currently he is expected be released on parole in 2023,
after 33 years in prison.
On January 17, 2007, while on a 48-hour
furlough, Popper was involved in a car accident caused
by him crossing a solid line. His wife and one of his
sons were killed in the accident. Popper himself was
moderately injured. Israeli police reported that
Popper's license had expired in 1999.
Israeli kills 7 Arabs, wounds 10
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 20, 1990
A 20-year-old Israeli armed with a U.S.-made M-16
assault rifle opened fire on a group of Palestinians waiting to go to
work in a town south of Tel Aviv, killing seven and wounding 10, Israel
The radio report said the gunman apparently was a
civilian. He left the scene in a car belonging to one of the
Palestinians, but was taken into custody after contacting police, the
San Jose Mercury News
May 20, 1990
An Israeli armed with a U.S.-made M-16 assault rifle
opened fire today on a group of Palestinians waiting to go to work in a
town south of Tel Aviv, killing seven and wounding 10, Israel radio
said. It was the bloodiest attack by an Israeli against Arabs since the
start of the 29-month-old Palestinian uprising. The radio said the
gunman was a 20-year-old civilian. He escaped in a car belonging to one
of the Palestinians, but was taken into custody after contacting police,
the radio said.
Israeli kills 7 Arabs, hurts 11
The Miami Herald
May 21, 1990
RISHON LEZION, Israel -- An Israeli wearing a military
uniform and armed with an automatic assault rifle opened fire Sunday on
Palestinian workers, killing seven and wounding 11.
Within an hour of the killings, the suspected
assailant -- a 21-year-old man -- was arrested. He was described in an
Israel Radio report as distraught because his girlfriend had decided to
A bloody day for Israel
Former soldier kills 8 Arabs;
7 die, hundreds in riots
Detroit Free Press
May 21, 1990
RISHON LETZION, Israel -- An Israeli who was
dishonorably discharged from the army shot and killed eight unarmed
Palestinian laborers and wounded 10 on Sunday. Outraged Arabs rampaged
through the occupied territories in clashes with Israeli troops that
left at least seven more Palestinians dead and more than 650 injured.
Eleven Israeli soldiers were injured.
Gaza erupts as Israeli kills 8 Palestinians
The Washington Times
May 21, 1990
RISHON LEZION, Israel - A dishonorably discharged
Israeli soldier armed with an assault rifle opened fire yesterday on a
group of unarmed Palestinians, killing eight men and rekindling the
29-month-old uprising against Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip and
News of the unprovoked murders spread quickly through
the occupied territories, setting off fierce clashes with Israeli troops
that left seven more Palestinians dead and nearly 700 wounded.
Israeli murder charges
The Philadelphia Inquirer
June 19, 1990
A Tel Aviv court yesterday charged a 21-year-old
Israeli with the murder of seven Palestinian laborers in an attack that
set off clashes in which 20 other people died.
A five-man psychiatric panel rejected a contention
that the suspect, Ami Popper, was unfit to stand trial, officials said.
San Jose Mercury News
June 29, 1990
The Israeli who has reportedly confessed in Jerusalem
to killing seven Palestinian workers last month now says the massacre
was a premeditated act of personal revenge for a gang rape he suffered
at the age of 12, according to a jailhouse note. The 21-year-old
Israeli, Ami Popper, wrote that the leader of a gang that raped him in
1982 was among the Arabs he attacked May 20. The jailhouse account
contradicts Popper's earlier reported statement to police that he shot
the Arabs over a failed romance.
Israeli refuses to testify at trial
The Pittsburgh Press
July 9, 1990
The 21-year-old Israeli charged with the premeditated
murder of seven Palestinian laborers in a burst of automatic rifle fire
refused to speak as his trial opened today.
Judge Chaim Steinberg ruled that Ami Popper's silence
amounted to a plea of innocent to charges he gunned down the seven Arabs
and wounded 10 others on May 20 outside Tel Aviv.
Soldier admits killing 7 Arabs
The Press of Atlantic
December 24, 1990
A cashiered Israeli soldier admitted in court Sunday
that he shot and killed seven Arab workers seven months ago but said his
actions resulted from mental illness, not criminal intent.
The killings May 20 in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon
Lezion set off three days of rioting in the occupied lands in which 13
Palestinians died from army gunfire, refueling the 3-year-old uprising
against Israeli occupation.
7 Arabs slain to avenge rape, Court
The Arizona Republic
December 28, 1990
A tearful Israeli told a court Thursday that he gunned
down seven Arab workers from the occupied Gaza Strip in May to ''end the
nightmare'' of his rape as a boy by Arabs.
Ami Popper, 21, taking the stand in his own defense,
admitted killing the seven. But his lawyer said Popper was mentally ill
and denied charges by prosecutors that he carefully calculated the
Israeli gets life term in killings
The Charlotte Observer
March 18, 1991
A court on Sunday sentenced an Israeli man to life in
prison for shooting to death seven Palestinians in a massacre that
touched off three days of rioting last spring.
The Tel Aviv District Court found 21-year-old Ami
Popper guilty of seven murders and ordered him to serve seven life terms
Israeli law does not provide for parole for prisoners
serving life sentences. But they can seek a commutation from the
president and become eligible for parole.
Israel cuts sentence for Jewish
The Sunday Times
February 4, 1999
Jerusalem: Israel yesterday commuted the lengthy
prison terms of seven Jews convicted of murdering or plotting to kill
Arabs, in a move that has angered the Palestinian Authority.
The prisoners included Ami Popper, who killed seven
Palestinians in a wild shooting spree in 1990. From seven life
sentences, his sentence has been reduced to 40 years. He could be
eligible for release on parole after serving two thirds of that term.
Thursday, February 4, 1999
The Israeli Government has cut the prison sentences of four Israelis
jailed for murdering Palestinians and one convicted murderer is to be
One of the prisioners, Ami Popper, killed seven
Palestinians in an shooting spree in 1990. His sentence has been reduced
from seven life sentences to 40 years in prison.
Another prisoner, Nehemiah Mishbaum, who threw a
grenade into an Arab butchers' market, killing one, will now walk free
after 11 years.
Israel's justice minister told Israeli radio that the
review of their sentences was justified because the government had
released a number of Palestinian prisoners over recent years as a result
of the peace process.
Palestinian human rights activists have voiced their
opposition to the policy saying Israel's position is that it will not
release any Palestinian prisoners who "have Jewish blood on their hands".
The human rights activists say Palestinians who
murder Israelis are charged in military courts and handed down severe
By contrast, they say, Israelis guilty of murdering
Palestinians often claim self-defence and when they are charged, usually
sit before regular courts which deal out lighter sentences.
The issue of prisoners was central to the recent
stalling of the Wye peace accord. The Israelis had agreed to release 750
Palestinian prisoners, but the Palestinians complained that many of
those who were actually released were common criminals.
Wife, son of Ami Popper die in collision
The wife and six-year-old son of
convicted Jewish terrorist Ami Popper were killed Wednesday night when
the car he was driving collided head-on with one full of tourists on the
Arava Highway, 50 km. north of Eilat, police said.
Five others were injured - two seriously - including
Popper's two other children. The identities of those in the second
vehicle were not released to the press.
Popper, who was on a 48-hour furlough from prison,
was moderately injured, while his son was pronounced dead at the scene.
His wife, Sarah, 42, an American-born social worker affiliated with the
Kahane Chai movement, was killed instantly.
Popper is serving 40 years at Ma'asiyahu Prison near
Ramle. He was originally given seven life sentences - one for each of
the seven Palestinian laborers he gunned down near Rishon Lezion on May
The initial investigation suggests the three Popper
children were sitting in the backseat without seat belts. Police said
they believed that Ami Popper had been distracted by his children,
causing him to veer into oncoming traffic.
Popper's driving license expired in 1999, police said.
According to traffic authorities, one of the vehicles,
most likely Popper's, made a sudden move into oncoming traffic just
before 9:30 p.m., causing "one of the more horrific accidents we have
seen... completely unnecessary." Magen David Adom medics treated
casualties as firefighters extracted others from the wreckage. Two
helicopters evacuated the most seriously injured to Soroka Hospital in
After completing the first 10 years of his sentence,
Popper was allowed furloughs. He reportedly left the prison grounds more
than 120 times since 2000.
A police representative said that the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Services), and not the Israel Prisons Service, was
responsible for approving the frequency and durations of Popper's
The Shin Bet referred questions about the accident to
the Prime Minister's Office.
Ami Popper's shooting rampage rocked the nation and
still resonates 16 years later. Popper, 21 at the time, arrived at the
Rose Garden Junction between Rishon Lezion and Ness Ziona with an IDF-issued
rifle that he had stolen from his younger brother. He lined up Arab
workers at the junction, and even stopped a car with West Bank plates,
making the passengers join the lineup that he then raked with gunfire,
stopping several times to reload.
Seven people were killed and 10 were wounded in the
attack, and riots broke out across the territories, leading to
additional Palestinian deaths from IDF fire.
Following his arrest, Popper told police he shot the
men after his girlfriend left him, only to say later that he was raped
by an Arab during his childhood and had acted out of shame and a desire