At Galilee Kibbutz Where Ben Dror Grew Up, Members Struggle to Believe Allegations

Suspect's father Micha sensed something was wrong and called police and rescue services - breaking into his son's apartment with authorities.

Itai Ben Dror, 38, grew up on Kibbutz Yiron in the Upper Galilee. Yesterday, kibbutz members stayed in their homes in an effort to fathom the extent of the shocking incident and listened to the news for any details. At the kibbutz, the emotional difficulties that Ben Dror was experiencing were something they all knew about, and his parents, who live in the kibbutz, were involved in helping him.

Ben Dror's father Micha was the one who sensed something happened, and called police and rescue services - breaking into his son's apartment with authorities.

The crime scene in Netanya
Tal Cohen

Ben Dror grew up on the kibbutz, which is situated near the northern border. He has an older sister and two younger brothers. His parents adopted him when he was five.

Like Ben Dror, most of the kibbutz children his age have left the community. The suspect is remembered by those who knew him as a sociable, good hearted child who fitted well into the community. He studied at the kibbutz's elementary school, and then at the high school in Kibbutz Givat Haim.

Alon, a former classmate, said yesterday, "Itai was a very nice guy. A good guy who smiled, was one of the guys, without any unusual incidents that stick in my mind. I remember him favorably, even though since we finished high school we did not keep in touch. It is hard for me to hear about this incident, which really does not fit with the Itai I knew. Who knows what goes on in someone's life, what goes on inside his head?"

Like the rest of his classmates, Ben Dror served in the IDF and 17 years ago, left the kibbutz.

Shlomi Felix, a kibbutz member, said that "Itai kept in touch with his parents once or twice a year. I would see him come for visits. Over the years Itai was independent, managed to make a living for himself and his family. He managed and over time he built a furniture moving business."

"But as far as we know," Felix says, "last September he had financial trouble because the business failed. It was a total crash. In addition to the deep financial difficulty, he also had an emotional breakdown and tried to kill himself a few times. He and his wife also separated and divorced."

Members of the kibbutz said Ben Dror had been hospitalized in a psychiatric institution. "We knew that two or three months ago he was discharged, and we thought the situation had improved," Felix says.