Rabin Killer Yigal Amir: What I Did Was a One-time Thing

Amir petitions court to be integrated into general prison ward after being kept apart from other prisoners for 15 years.

Yigal Amir, serving a life sentence for the murder of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said Monday that "I don't have any political reason to commit a crime now. What I did was a one-time thing."

Yigal Amir at court in Nazareth Tomer Neuberg May, 2010
Tomer Neuberg

Amir made the remarks at a hearing on a petition he had filed asking not to be kept separated from the other prisoners. "I've spoken to a lot of prisoners for many years – they never brought forth any proof that I was inciting them to violence, on the contrary," Amir said in his defense.

"The Shin Bet security service simply has a personal vendetta against me," Amir explained.

The convicted murderer asked the court to revoke the order to keep him isolated, to allow his brother Amitay to visit him in prison, and to allow him to pray with a minyan, a quorum of ten male Jewish adults required by Jewish law to fulfill certain religious rites.

During the hearing, Amir said that "there are in fact prisoners who are likely to incite, like [Palestinian leader Marwan] Barghouti and [head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel] Ra'ad Salah, who are kept together with the general population of the prison. Even [nuclear whistleblower Mordechai] Vanunu was taken out of solitary confinement after 11 years. There is no reason for it, especially since a special law has been passed making it illegal to grant me parole."

Amir asked that the court consider integrating him into regular prison wards after being held in confinement for 15 years. "I'm asking, for Rosh Hashana, that they consider it," he said.

"If I am found to incite anyone to violence - they can put me back… If they see that I'm 'behaving properly' then there's no justification for confinement," he said.

He argued further that the reasons for his separation were based on "recycled" Shin Bet info which was no longer relevant.

Amir also criticized his classification as a security prisoner, saying that "I want to stress that during all the early hearings on my confinement the word security was never mentioned, I was viewed as a criminal case… in at least six petitions, the state's representative cited 'protecting his life' [as the justification for confinement] – the issue of state security wasn't even mentioned."

Avraham Tal, who presided over the hearing, ruled that a decision will be handed down on October 5. The prosecutor, attorney Oded Keller, told the court that the decision to keep Amir confined was not based on vengeance or a desire to be contrary, but it was rather a "specific, thought out decision."