Israel releases Baltimorean who killed at mosque Goodman received life term in attack at Jerusalem shrine

Returning to Md., mother after 15 1/2 years in prison

October 27, 1997|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

JERUSALEM -- After serving 15 1/2 years of a life sentence for a terrorist attack on a Muslim holy shrine, Baltimore-born Alan H. Goodman was released from an Israeli prison last night under an agreement that enabled the convicted killer to return to Maryland, prison officials said.

Goodman, 53, was scheduled to leave Israel on a flight bound for the United States and a reunion with his mother, Fannie, in Baltimore.

Goodman was convicted on murder and assault with intent to murder charges in an April 11, 1982, shooting in the courtyard of the Al Aqsa mosque on the sacred Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the third-holiest shrine in Islam.

The area is considered the holiest place in Judaism as the site of the Western Wall and the ancient temples of Solomon and Herod.

Wearing an Israeli army uniform and firing an M-16 automatic rifle issued during basic training begun weeks earlier, he killed a Muslim and wounded four others.

Indictment papers said he intended to capture and "liberate" the walled enclave from Muslim control.

Since the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem and its holy sites from Jordan, Muslims have prayed on the Temple Mount while Jews have worshiped below at the Western Wall.

Jews can enter the walled compound but are barred from praying there.

The shooting provoked rioting by Muslims, who attacked Israeli police on the Temple Mount. When the trouble subsided, two Muslims were dead -- one killed by Goodman, the other by a police bullet -- and 11 injured.

'An eye for an eye'

At the time of sentencing, Goodman referred to his crime as "an eye for an eye" and shouted, "Long live the Jews."

In an interview last week with the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Goodman expressed no regret about his crime. Wearing the yarmulke of a religious Jew, his beard graying, the stocky Goodman told the newspaper that the attack on the Temple Mount was "politically correct."

"It's just a pity that life is too short to implement everything you want to do," he said.

The Israeli parole board decided Oct. 14 to release him early on condition that he spend the next eight years outside Israel, prison officials said.

Life terms in Israel generally are shortened to 24 years; Goodman has served about two-thirds of that.

A job and quiet life

Upon his return to Baltimore, Goodman said, he wants to live a quiet life and find a job.

"I'm happy I'm going away from here. I'm only sorry it's happening now," Goodman told the newspaper.

Goodman moved to Israel after 1978 but retained U.S. citizenship. Afterward, he returned to Baltimore briefly, staying at a rooming house on Franklin Street.

The attack on the Temple Mount occurred after Goodman had spent time in several kibbutzim, a Jerusalem school and a yeshiva, or religious school.

He received notice to report for duty in the Israeli Defense Force in the weeks before the shooting.

After his arrest, police found literature from the militant Jewish Defense League and the outlawed Jewish extremist group Kach in Goodman's room.

During his trial in April 1983, Goodman's mental health was at issue. His lawyers said Goodman was a paranoid schizophrenic, according to news reports at the time. A three-judge panel declared that he was legally sane, but that he showed signs of "borderline personality disorder," then announced the verdict.

After sentencing, Goodman called his conviction "a stamp of approval for all the murders of Jews by Arabs."

Profile

May 22, 1944: Alan Goodman born in Baltimore.

1962: Earned his high school degree from City College.

1976: Started making regular trips to Israel. He applied for residency in 1977.

April 11, 1982: Fatally shot a Muslim and wounded four others in the courtyard of a Jerusalem mosque.

April 7, 1983: Sentenced to serve a life term by an Israeli court.

Oct. 26, 1997: Released from an Israeli prison.

Pub Date: 10/27/97

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