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Pop star Shai Gabso has called off a concert with musician Ariel Zilber because of the latter's call to free Yitzhak Rabin's killer, the Ynet Web site reported Tuesday. Gabso's decision followed the release of a video that featured Zilber calling for the release of Yigal Amir, the one-time law student who murdered the Israeli prime minister as he left a peace rally in November 1995.
In the video, which also features Amir's mother and wife, Zilber calls for the assassin's early release, saying Amir is an "ideological prisoner" held to harsher standards than terrorists and ordinary criminals.
A source of controversy in the lead-up to every year's commemorations of Rabin's death, the debate is particularly animated this year because of the impending birth of Amir's first child. Following a legal fight, the prisoner's wife, Larissa Trimbobler, was allowed to pay a conjugal visit to Amir last year, and is believed to have gotten pregnant via in-vitro fertilization.
According to the Ynet story, Gabso will now perform alone at Tel Aviv's upcoming Piano Festival. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told the Web site he considered Zilber "worthy of contempt," but that freedom of speech meant he wouldn't seek to prevent Zilber from performing at the festival or other venues in Tel Aviv.