Father of Arab who murdered IDF soldier apologizes for ‘despicable act by despicable person’

Khaled Abu Judeh had reportedly been radicalized via social media; his family serves in the IDF.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a press conference Thursday, the father of a Bedouin Israeli who murdered IDF soldier Ron Kokia in Arad in 2017 apologized for his son’s actions and said it did not reflect his family’s values at all.

“In the name of the Abu Judeh family, I ask forgiveness. We condemn all violence, whether physical or verbal. We ask forgiveness from the Kokia family,” Sheikh Odeh Abu Judeh said. “We condemned the act from the first day…. We are loyal to the state, we have cousins who have been killed serving the state.”

The sheikh was unreserved in his denunciation of his son, Khaled.

“This was a despicable act by a despicable person,” he said. “We couldn’t believe that a person who could murder a soldier could come from our home.”

He also asked that the public remember that his son was an individual who did not act in the name of his people.

“An entire sector did not do this,” he said. “The state is punishing all of us, and we have been loyal to it since its establishment.”

Kokia, a Nachal soldier, was standing near a mall in the southern town when Khaled Abu Judeh, 22, jumped him, knifed him repeatedly, stole his weapon and fled into a car.  He was arrested the next day thanks to traffic surveillance cameras in the area which caught his wild driving on tape.

Abu Judeh received a life sentence plus 20 years in April 2019 for the murder. He was also ordered to pay 250,000 shekels compensation to the victim’s family.

He had reportedly been radicalized by watching videos on social media, becoming an ardent Hamas supporter. He told his interrogators that he committed the murder as a sign of identification with the Palestinian people and to revenge IDF actions in Judea and Samaria.

Judeh’s mother was a Palestinian who came from Judea and Samaria.

The judge in the case wrote that Judeh “carried out the crimes on the basis of a twisted, murderous ideological background that voids all value of human life.”

The parents of the 19-year-old soldier had urged the court to impose the death penalty in the case.