Jewish Agency To Probe MASA Screening After Eilat Shooting By New Yorker
10/05/12
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The Jewish Agency is opening an inquiry into its Oranim program after an American participant gunned down a hotel employee in Eilat.

The Jerusalem Post identified the shooter as William Hershkoviz, 23, of Poughkeepsie, NY. The victim was Armando Abed, a 33-year-old sous-chef from Mi'ilya in the Western Galilee.

Hershkovitz reportedly was fired from his job at the Leonardo Club Hotel after arriving there in late August on a program arranged by the Jewish Agency's MASA program.

The hotel was fully booked during one of Eilat's busiest tourism season, the weeklong Sukkot holiday.

"In response to the tragic incident in Eilat, the Chairperson of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky expressed his deep sorrow at the loss of life and has appointed a panel to examine the processes by which the American participant was accepted to the Oranim program in Eilat," a statement said Friday.

The shooter was killed by an anti-terrorist squad shortly after he gunned down a hotel worker in Eilat and holed up in a hotel room.

Israel Radio reported that the soldiers rushed to the hotel Friday morning after the tourist used the gun of a security guard at Eilat’s Leonardo Club Hotel to kill an employee in the hotel’s dining room.

The soldiers surrounded the room in which the man was holed up after the shooting, reports said. Police negotiated with him to surrender but the soldiers shot and killed him after he opened fire on police negotiators.

The man was in Israel as part of an exchange program for American young people and had reportedly recently been fired as a hotel employee.

"The Oranim program is one of 200 long term programs which are funded by Masa Israel, a joint project of the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel," the Jewish Agency said in its statement. "Since 2003, over 70,000 young Jews from around the world have participated in Masa programs, which include volunteer work, study and internships."

The shooter reportedly arrived in the morning hours to hotel’s kitchen, where he began fighting with the employee whom he killed.

He reportedly snatched a firearm from a female security guard who arrived at the kitchen to break up the fight.

The incident may have started over a financial dispute between the two dead men, according to Israel Radio

Last Update:

10/05/2012 - 12:12

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