In the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, on Hardof Street, family members and friends of the Jewish terrorist, 40 year-old Asher Weissgan, gathered to speak of their shock.
His sister, Rina Elharar, told Ynet that her family “condemns this act in every way possible.”
Weissgan drove Palestinian workers to the Ortal factory in Shilo on a daily basis. Hours before opening fire on them, he sat down to lunch with his victims.
His friends spoke of their shock and told Ynet that “it was impossible to know he was planning something like this.”
“We heard about this in the evening hours from the media. The entire family arrived at my parent’s home in Gilo. We are in shock, we can’t believe what has happened. We didn’t receive a call from the police and we are only receiving updates from the media. He never mentioned anything that would indicate he was planning this, he didn’t even talk about the disengagement,” said Rina.
“I haven’t spoken to him in the last three weeks. His wife and children are with us since yesterday afternoon, they come to us every summer holiday. The family is so shocked, and my father collapsed after saying he felt unwell. I have to emphasize how much we condemn this, how angry and ashamed we are of this,” she added.
From the window of the family home, loud voices were heard, and at times a woman was heard crying.
One of Weissgan’s close friends, who ate at his home every Friday evening, met him before he carried out the terrorist attack.
“He’s an excellent father and a role model,” he said. “He never spoke about this issue, not even once. I can’t understand how this happened and I don’t believe he did such a thing.”
Another friend said, “I can’t believe he would do this just like that. He is the best person I know, there is no one like him and his children are the most important thing for him.”
Shmuel Ashkenazi, a resident of Shavul Rahel, the same settlement where Weissgan is from, and a close friend, told Ynet, “we are very close friends. After this happened, he came to my shop and told me he killed his brother’s employees. He is the last person I ever imagined doing something like this. He lived his entire life quietly. He had many Palestinian friends, and often shopped in their stores. It’s not clear what came over him that moment and why he did this,” said Ashkenazi.
'Look after my daughers'
“He was in full control of his actions and he knew what he was doing,” he added. “He came to my store and asked two things of me. The first thing he told me was: ‘Make sure they don’t harm the guard, because I took his gun, and the guard is not guilty of anything.’ The second thing he asked was that I look after his daughters. Then he turned himself in.”
The factory’s vice president, Ariel Bar-Asher, told Ynet that “there were no indications that this would happen. Even today, they (Weissgan and Palestinian workers at the factory) sat together and ate lunch. He had good friends among them.”
Yehoshua Kaising, manger of the of the factory, said, “I went home at 11:30 in the morning, and received a call from one of the factory’s worker, who told me that Asher shot someone sitting next to her. I returned to the factory, and found that even more people were shot, and identified three bodies and I’m still in shock. He was the last person I thought would do this.”
“He spoke Arabic, he was their friend. No one who spoke to him could have known this would happen, there were no warning signs. I just can’t believe it. Three months ago, when I became angry with one of the Palestinian workers and yelled at him, Asher came to me and said, ‘do me a favor, leave him alone. This is a good guy.’”
Tal Rosner contributed to this report