In Cold Blood

The continuation of the Yigal Amir dynasty was planned in cold blood. And it's probably not the end either: They'll be hopping into bed again.

Many of those who took part in the memorial rally for Israel's slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin showed up this year mainly to protest the circumcision ceremony of Yigal Amir's son, being held on the anniversary of the day that Amir shot Rabin in the back. We saw people at the rally who were boiling mad - at a legal system with no death penalty for the murder of a prime minister; that allows an assassin to sit in jail, marry, shack up with the missus and bring a child into the world; and at having religious laws requiring baby boys to be circumcised when they are eight days old, and that day falling on the same day that the proud father murdered an Israeli prime minister in cold blood.

The courts, after approving Amir's marriage and conjugal relations with his wife as rights to which all criminals and murderers are entitled, could not keep the circumcision from happening. The directors of Rimonim Prison, where the ceremony was held, declared there would be no party. No refreshments could be brought in - just the wine goblet for the ceremony. No flowers, no decorations, no festive white shirt for the father. His leg chains would stay on, although his handcuffs would be loosened so he could hold the baby. There would be no guests, apart from the family and the rabbi performing the ceremony, the prison officials said.

But when Beitar soccer fans cheered the killer and booed the victim, Amir didn't need a big party to feel he had won.

That day, the walls of Jerusalem were covered with posters showing Shimon Peres wearing a keffiyah, with the words "Liberator of terrorists, president of the Arabs" plastered across a black background - the handiwork of right-wing activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Twelve years ago, posters of Rabin in a Gestapo uniform were held high at Jerusalem's Zion Square. The forces of darkness and the potential political assassins are here today, organizing openly and in secret to disrupt, in blood and fire, any moves taken to evacuate more settlements.

"As a religious person, I know nothing in life is mere chance," says Amitai Amir, Yigal's brother. "On November 4, Yigal made a covenant with the people of Israel and sacrificed himself for all of us. He saved us from the Oslo Accords and Rabin. Twelve years have passed, and the covenant continues. The Oslo Accords are dead."

In the videotape of Amir's first interrogation after the assassination, aired on television two weeks ago, we saw a devious and determined man with no qualms about the killing. Asked by the interrogator whether he regretted his actions, he didn't beat around the bush: "God forbid," quoth he.

Twelve years later, the surveys show that a third of the public has no problem with commuting Amir's sentence or allowing him to be treated like any other murderer. Much of the blame for turning Yigal Amir into a hero lies with the media, and the ratings culture that has reporters pouncing on every peep that comes out of his mouth.

Over the past year, we've seen many more pictures of Amir than of Rabin.

Is it a coincidence that Amir's son, Yinon Eliya Shalom, was born eight days before the memorial rally? Probably not. Nowadays, when one can choose not only the date but even the hour of birth, there seems no question that Amir and his wife, Larisa Trimbobler, purposely timed it that way. The continuation of the Yigal Amir dynasty was planned in cold blood. And it's probably not the end either: They'll be hopping into bed again.

On Sunday, one of the left-wing demonstrators at Rimonim Prison waved a photo of Amir laughing with a big black X across his face. "Erase the smile from the killer's face," read the caption. Has it been erased? I wouldn't be so sure. As the car bringing the baby drove up to the prison, Amir's brother flashed the "V" sign at the right-wing extremists congregating outside - a sign that Amir's smile is as toothy as ever.

This decision to "fall in love," marry and procreate is an act of cruelty, most of all toward the newborn. Because in the end, this little one will grow up, as the circumciser blesses the child. From the moment he left his mother's womb, his forehead has borne the mark of Cain. To many, he will always be Rosemary's Baby.

It is hard to hate an eight-day-old infant. How can you hate a baby? But at the moment, this child is the raw material for a chilling, macabre tragedy of biblical proportions. The questions will start to surface when he goes to school.

Who will raise this child? In what kind of environment will he grow up? What will his first response be when he begins to understand what murder is? What will it do to him when he discovers that his father murdered a prime minister? Will he be proud? Will he be ashamed? Will he go out of his mind? Will he leave the country? Or will he join the growing pool of Yigal Amir fans who are scheming, openly and behind closed doors, to lead this country to perdition?