New Israeli Film on Rabin's Assassin Tells Story Through His Eyes

The thriller is the first feature film on Rabin's murder, examining the political, religious and personal forces spurring on Yigal Amir

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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Yehuda Nahari Halevi as Yigal Amir in 'Yamim Noraim.'
Yehuda Nahari Halevi as Yigal Amir in 'Yamim Noraim.'Credit: Amit Yasur
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

The feature film “Yamim Noraim,” which details the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as seen through the eyes of his killer, Yigal Amir, is expected to vie for Israel’s prestigious Ophir Prize.

Directed by Yaron Zilberman, “Yamim Noraim” means “Terrible Days” or “Days of Awe,” referring to the Jewish high holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. “Yamim Noraim” is co-written by Zilberman and Ron Leshem, who directed the Israeli movie “Beaufort,” which was nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars.

This is the first feature film to be made about Amir and his decision to murder the prime minister in 1995. 

>> Read more: Rabin's death wasn't a political murder - it was a religious one | Opinion 

According to the Israeli Academy of Film and Television, the movie is a sort of psychological thriller from the perspective of the assassin Amir, which follows him the year before the assassination. It examines the political, religious and personal forces spurring Amir on. According to the academy, the film is essentially a portrait of a political assassin who seeks to slay democracy, and the portrait of a riven society.

Yigal Amir in a hearing in court, 2004.
Yigal Amir in a hearing in court, 2004. Credit: Alon Ron

Amir is played by Yehuda Nahari Halevi, who has acted in several television series and films including “Incitement,” “Tyrant” and “Snails in the Rain.” The movie is still in the editing phase and is expected to be screened to members of the academy in July. A distribution date has not yet been set.

While this is the first feature film about Rabin’s murder, several documentaries have been made on the subject including “Rabin, the Last Day” and  “Beyond the Fear,” directed by Frank and Maria Kravchenko. “Beyond the Fear” was due to be shown at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2015 but the plan was thwarted by Shimon Peres and Culture Minister Miri Regev. The film was later screened in theaters around Israel.

The Ophir Awards ceremony will be held in the fall; 26 films are expected to vie for best film. The winner will represent Israel at the Oscars for best foreign film.