Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger on Friday condemned Hagai Amir for
his reaction upon his release from prison, particularly Amir's lack of
remorse for his involvement in the assassination of former prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Metzger said, "To be proud of
participation in the murder [of Rabin] is an embarrassment, a disgrace
and chutzpah. It seems that sixteen and a half years was not enough time
for him to learn his lesson."
Meanwhile, residents of the West
Bank settlement Shavei Shomron were disturbed and surprised that Amir
had chosen to spend Shabbat in their community, following his release from prison earlier that morning.
After serving his sentence for helping his brother Yigal
Amir plot the murder of Rabin, Amir
walked out of Ayalon Prison in Ramle a free
man. Amir chose to spend the weekend with a relative living in Shavei
Shomron, rather than going to his family home in Herzliya.
hung signs around the town against Amir's visit, reading, "thou shall
not kill," and "murder is not our way." A resident of the community
expressed disapproval of Amir's intention to visit the settlement,
saying "we dissociate ourselves entirely from this visit and of course
we completely dissociate ourselves from anything linked to Rabin's
murder," Channel Ten reported.
"This is a completely private
visit that people do not view favorably. We have no way to prevent it,
but we are not pleased about it," he added.
Channel Ten quoted
another resident as saying, "we would willingly pass on this visitor.
This man is not welcome in this town, and would do well not to be here."
The Shavei Shomron residents were among many others bristling
at Amir's release on Friday. Meretz activists and other demonstrators
waited outside the
prison gate in protest of his release. They held signs saying "price
tag 4.11.95" and called to Amir and his family, "we won't forget and we
won't forgive those who incited and murdered."
Now 43 years old, the Herzliya native
has never expressed remorse for
his role in the assassination, which he reiterated as he left the
prison, saying he was proud of what he did and has no regrets. He held
up a "V" sign with his fingers, before leaving for his parents' house.
"This is a black day for Israel," said Secretary General of Meretz
Dror Morag. "Hagai Amir may have paid his legal debt, but his debt to
the public will never be settled."
"Behind the Amir brothers
stands an entire public of leaders and supporters who continue to incite
against the Left and democracy. Meretz will not forget not forgive the
murder, and will continue to work to achieve the late Rabin's vision of
peace," he added.
Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich and fellow Labor Mks held an impromptu ceremony at the site of Rabin’s murder in Tel Aviv, hours after Hagai Amir was released on Friday.
Standing before the memorial next to Rabin square, Yacimovich said “the fact that the accomplice to the murder Hagai Amir feels no remorse causes disgust and nausea and shows us that the violent extremism that challenges Israeli democracy still remains.”
Former defense minister Amir Peretz said he thinks “our society should mark this as a dark day”, adding that “there can be no forgiveness for those who were accomplices to the murder of Rabin.”
The ceremony had a political tone to it, with a few dozen Labor party activists wearing t-shirts and holding signs, and former welfare minister Isaac Hertzog saying that early elections planned for September 4 present an opportunity for Israelis to use their vote for the sake of “preserving Israeli democracy”, presumably by way of a vote for the Labor party.
The ceremony was cut short when a handful of “social justice” activists began shouting at the Labor Mks, calling them hypocrites for, in their words, not showing support for last summer’s cost-of-living protests. Shouting matches ensued, but there was no violence or arrests made.