What is “Igal Amir Law”?

The Igal Amir Law prohibits the parole commission in the Ministry of Justice to recommend pardon or sentence reduction for anyone convicted or murdering a Prime Minister.  All prisoners otherwise convicted are entitled to this option.  This Law was passed against the backdrop of polls showing that a large segment of the Israeli public favors limiting Igal Amir’s prison sentence to time served.

Personal and retroactive Igal Amir Law runs contrary to Israeli legal practice and basic legal norms of democratic countries.  Reuven Rivlin, who later became the President of Israel said “I voted [for this law] contrary to my professional conscience”

(translated by Rina Gonzales Gallego)

Igal Amir was sentenced to life imprisonment. Why should he be freed?

It is a well-established practice in Israel that prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment are eventually freed.  The President commutes their sentence to time served based on the recommendation from the parole commission in the Ministry of Justice.  Igal Amir is the only exception.  In 2001 the Knesset adopted a special law that retroactively applies to only one man: Igal Amir.  The law forbids the Ministry of Justice parole commission to make a positive recommendation on behalf of anyone who murdered a Prime Minister for ideological reasons.  Reuven Rivlin (the current President) admitted that while a Knesset member he voted for this law “contrary to professional conscience” out of fear that he will be accused of solidarity with the murderer and his motives.  The basic notions of equality before the law, especially considering the length of time Igal Amir already served and the severity of the conditions of his imprisonment compared to prisoners convicted of the same category of crime, require that he be freed.

(translated by Rina Gonzales Gallego)

Igal Amir must be punished more severely that terrorists and murderers. Not only did he kill a man, he killed democracy itself!

Igal Amir had no chance of killing democracy.  Democracy has already been killed by the Rabin government and personally Itzhak Rabin.  The Avodah Party leadership trampled all over democratic norms at the stage of preparing for 1992 elections.  According to revelations made by Aby Mazen in his book “Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo” Rabin personally led clandestine contacts with the PLO (illegal at that time) with the goal that this organization interfere in the elections.  That alone casts a cloud of legal and moral illegitimacy of his victory in those elections.  The crucifying of democracy continued after the elections when Rabin pursued policies (Oslo Accords, transfer of Golan Heights to Syria) that broke the promises he made to voters and ignored the public protests that ensued.  During the Rabin government public opinion had no influence on policy whatsoever.  What kind of democracy can one talk about if the Oslo Accords were passed only because Rabin bribed two Knesset members to get the two votes that he needed for the majority?  As a reward one man got the position of minister and another deputy minister (one of them was later convicted of spying for Iran).  It is worth noting that Amir himself said that he would have never pursued this course of action if the policy of the Rabin government truly reflected the popular will and if the media and government would not have ignored the half of voters who disagreed.

(translated by Rina Gonzales Gallego)

They say that the Rabin government was rapidly losing support and would have lost the elections anyway. So Amir’s action caused grave harm to the right-wing cause.

The elections were to occur in the end of 1996.  The government was intent to arrive at that point with a long record of “accomplishments” that would have placed the country on the edge of the abyss, but would have garnered them applause from the international community and accolades from the media – all while the objectors to this political course would have been silenced whenever they were not vilified.  We have seen time and again that brainwashing works.  Moreover, the plan was to place the next government in a position that was irreversible.  For example, contrary to this promises to the voters Rabin indicated to the Americans that he was prepared to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria.  He planned to sign a peace treaty with Syria in exchange for surrendering the Golan before the elections.  The continuation of withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would have turned the Jewish settlements there into isolated islands that would have had to rely on Palestinian police for protection.  In October 1995 Yossi Beilin with the help of Ron Pundak and Yair Hirschfeld (the Oslo negotiating team) conducted secret and intensive negotiations with Abu Mazen about the creation of a Palestinian state.  The framework for this agreement was supposed to have been signed in May 1996, long before the scheduled elections.  So, even if the right-wing parties would have won the 1996 election, they would have inherited a situation that was difficult-close-to impossible: commitment to surrender the Golan Heights and to create at least one Palestinian state, all this against the backdrop of a difficult security situation in Judea and Samaria.

(translated by Rina Gonzales Gallego)

How can anyone say that Amir did not kill Rabin? The whole country saw him shoot on live TV. Besides, he admitted.

There is no doubt that Igal Amir shot Itzhak Rabin of the Kings of Israel square on 4th of November, 1995.  It has been filmed and confirmed by eyewitnesses.  Amir admitted to shooting the Prime Minister and never took back his words.  However, Amir did not and could not know what happened to the Prime Minister.  The security personnel wrestled Amir down to the ground and he could not have known what was occurring.  Since Amir knew that he shot Rabin, it was only natural for him to assume that the Prime Minister’s death was caused by these shots.  That is what everyone else thought as well after viewing the footage filmed by Roni Kempler.  However, facts and circumstances started emerging that contradicted the official version of events.  For example, Amir himself indicated to the Shamgar commission that Rabin’s stillness after the first shot surprised him, but the investigator did not take that into account.  According to ballistics, Rabin was shot at point blank range while Amir never got that close to him, which is confirmed by eyewitnesses and Kempler’s footage.  These and other contradictions between the official version and the expert analysis of the crime scene were unknown to Igal Amir during the investigation and his murder trial.  They show that Amir’s bullets could not have caused the Prime Minister’s death.  Besides the court that convicted Amir of murdering Rabin did not consider evidence that could be seen as exculpatory.

(translated by Rina Gonzales Gallego)