25 years on, Rabin’s jailed assassin still a national threat: security service

Shin Bet says Yigal Amir has a following among far-right activists and there is concern he may direct them from within prison, where he is serving life sentence for 1995 killing

Yigal Amir, the convicted assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, seen during a court hearing in Tel Aviv, November 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Yigal Amir, the convicted assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, seen during a court hearing in Tel Aviv, November 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Shin Bet security service has reportedly assessed that a quarter of a century after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, his jailed killer, Yigal Amir, is still a threat to national security.

Amir, who is serving a life sentence, has followers outside the prison who pose a danger, the service believes, according to a Thursday report by Channel 13.

The report came as Israel officially marked 25 years since the assassination. Amir shot Rabin to death at the end of a rally in Tel Aviv called to highlight opposition to violence and to showcase public support for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

“Recently, youths identified with the right have mobilized and become a community outside the prison that supports Amir and his actions and is willing to act on his behalf,” the Shin Bet assessment reportedly found. “All this points to the danger posed by the ties between the murderer and entities outside the prison.”

The Shin Bet is concerned that Amir, who has never expressed regret at what he did and remains convinced that he was justified in his actions, may try to direct the group from within the prison, the report said.

Channel 13 did not say when the Shin Bet assessment was made.

Amir has been seeking ways to have himself set free from prison by way of political support.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin speaks to a crowd of more than 100,000 Israelis at a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995. Rabin, 73, was assassinated minutes later. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

During Israel’s recent run of three consecutive elections within a year and half, his wife, Larissa Trimbobler-Amir, formed the Mishpat Tzedek (Fair Trial) party, which called for a retrial for the convicted killer and “all other innocent people unjustly incarcerated.”

In October 2019, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Amir to lift prison restrictions imposed after he used his phone for political purposes.

Amir was denied phone calls, family visits, conjugal visits, newspapers and access to electrical appliances at the time, as a result of his attempts to shore up political support.

Amir has been alone in his cell for years, but normally has access to television and other privileges.

He was sentenced by the prison’s commander to seven days in solitary confinement in a cell with only basic amenities after he made a call to Yoav Eliasi, a rapper and far-right activist known as “The Shadow.”

Amir asked Eliasi to help fight for his release. The rapper rejected his request.

Israelis light memorial candles on the 25th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

To mark the 25th anniversary of the shooting, the Yitzhak Rabin Center said Thursday it lit 25,000 candles in the square where Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, and which is now named for him.

The exhibit built on the Jewish tradition of lighting a candle in memory of a loved one on the anniversary of their death, as well as on memories of the many candles that were lit by teenagers and young Israelis in the days that followed the murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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