Photo: Dalit Shacham
Yigal Amir
Photo: Dalit Shacham
Aviad Kleinberg

Yigal Amir as a celebrity

Israeli public has turned Rabin murderer into larger than life figure

Yigal Amir's conjugal visitation with his wife Larissa Trimbobler is being depicted as an appalling moral decline. If the abhorred murderer fathers a child, his offspring would contaminate our pure and pristine  country with its noxious words.


What's so disturbing about this attitude is that it turns Yigal Amir into a larger than life figure, a giant who at the pull of the trigger changed the course of history. This is a completely distorted view.


Yigal Amir is irrelevant. This young and peculiar man was not an idealist; he didn't formulate public opinion; he was not a leader. He was a small man who understood what other more important people expected of him. From the moment he was put behind bars and from the time the Knesset lawfully prevented appeal of his punishment, I have no further interest in him.


He is entitled to the rights of any other criminal – no more and no less. He is not entitled to good will, certainly not to treatment beyond the letter of the law. But he should not be stripped of basic human rights. Not because he is deserving of this.


According to divine justice, he probably deserves a much more severe punishment. Those who spill clean blood "deserve" to undergo trials and tribulations and anomalous deaths, yet law abiding countries do not profess to repay the wicked by the same measure.


Not easy to be 'enlightened'

The State of Israel is a law abiding country that believes even monsters should not be deprived of certain rights. The State of Israel treated Adolf Eichmann fairly even after he was convicted. The man whose hands were soaked in the blood of men, women and children slept on a clean bed covered in warm blankets.


He ate and drank to his heart's content, without anyone lifting a hand at him in revenge for the atrocities he committed. Often it is no easy thing being "enlightened."


Similar to many assassins before him, Yigal Amir is a superficial and insipid person; he is an impervious religious fanatic whose rightful place is in jail. The media festival around him is yet another manifestation of the privatization of Israeli politics, the glorification of celebrities.


No real soul-searching was conducted in Israel in the wake of Rabin's murder – neither on the Left not on the Right. Instead of arriving at political, social and cultural insights what we got were two personality cults – the admiration cult for Rabin, that stripped the murdered prime minister of his political ties and turned him into a stately figure for whom candles are lit and tears shed, and then there's the cult of hate towards Amir.


Amir has taken on monstrous dimensions so that he can serve as a fig leaf to hide the nakedness of our denial. Yes we have caught the culprit; he is despicable, just as he ought to be, thank God, and all the other suspects were released. No, I am not referring to those who issued the halachic laws permitting such action, but to those who publicized the order Amir executed. One of these persons was even the prime minister of Israel. This transpired because serious deliberations on accountability, political power and political impotency are difficult and unpleasant topics to discuss.


Amir the celebrity

Yet on the other hand, it is fun turning Amir into a celebrity, because this is what he has become, a flimsy symbol that we can all hate.


We love to hate the despicable murderer, we gather outside his parents' home, lying in wait to capture his every picture and smile, eager to find out exactly what he did with Larissa, what he ate before and what he drank afterwards, what he's reading and

what he does when he is alone.


We are appalled by him, by his smile, by his taste in women and by his mother. After all, the most important thing is to feel, not to think. Think about this.  


פרסום ראשון: 10.30.06, 11:56
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