Disgruntled Kibbutznik Kills Self After Shooting Community Director

A member of Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh shot the kibbutz's director of community life yesterday and then committed suicide, apparently due to dismay over the kibbutz's privatization process.

Community director Gidi Cohen was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and hospitalized in the intensive care unit. Doctors later said his condition had stabilized.

Yossi Schneiberg, 60, had been a member of the Sharon-area kibbutz, where he worked as a maintenance man, for decades. He came to the kibbutz office yesterday morning because community leaders were due to hold a meeting to set his salary.

When he arrived, however, he learned that the meeting had been postponed. According to several people present, he promptly erupted and began verbally assailing Cohen, a salaried employee.

At some point, the two went outside, where Schneiberg pulled out a pistol, shot Cohen, and then shot himself in the head, said Chief Superintendent Shai Azoulay, who commands the police force in nearby Kfar Sava.

Paramedics pronounced Schneiberg dead on the spot.

Kibbutz secretary Uri Margalit said the kibbutz management had not realized that Schneiberg, who is married with three children, was in distress. But one of Schneiberg's relatives told Haaretz that in fact, he had been fighting with the kibbutz management for some time, due to both problems in securing housing on the kibbutz for one of his children and management's decision to reevaluate his job and lower his salary as part of the kibbutz's privatization process.

"The privatization has been very difficult for kibbutz members," the relative said. "People here got the feeling they were being belittled. Yossi apparently couldn't find a way to talk about it, and this is what happened."

Another relative, Ossie Ginor, said that Schneiberg had repeatedly complained about the privatization process, charging that it hurt the kibbutz, but no one listened.