A documentary about Yigal Amir, the nationalist who assassinated the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, will be screened at a Jerusalem film festival that is partly subsidized by the state.
The film, Beyond the Fear, features interviews with Amir’s relatives, including his wife, Larissa, and his mother, Geula Amir. It also includes taped conversations between Amir and his son. One scene shows Amir reading a bedtime story to his son over the telephone.
The documentary was made by Israeli, Russian and Latvian filmmakers, with the narration primarily in Russian. Funding for the movie was provided by the Russian Ministry of Culture.
“I am one of those people who viewed him as a hero,” Amir’s wife, Larisa Trimbobler-Amir, said in the film. “I saw him as a little boy who did what he did out of despair. He was an idealist who looks humane and was motivated by despair, and he did a desperate thing and sacrificed himself.”
The documentary combines archival footage from the press during the immediate aftermath of Rabin’s killing and Amir’s trial. It also includes images and clips of the carnage caused by suicide bombings in the months and years following the signing of the Oslo Accords.
The film specifically deals with the years-long legal battle waged by the Amir family against the state over the conditions surrounding Yigal Amir’s incarceration.
“Yigal Amir killed Rabin because he thought that if he didn’t do it, the State of Israel would go kaput,” Ari Shamai, Amir’s lawyer, is quoted as saying in the film.
Noah Rotman, Rabin’s granddaughter, reacted angrily to the film’s anticipated screening.
“As the granddaughter of the man who was killed, my opinion is clear and not objective,” she said. “To turn the man who assassinated my grandfather into a celebrity? To make him the subject of a film? I’m interested to know what the prime minister thinks about this, what people who are raising their children here think about this. Whoever wants to live in a country that glorifies murderers needs to understand that this doesn’t come without a price.”
“It’s important for me to say that I won’t investigate this matter, and I won’t try to stop [the film from being screened],” Rotman said. “I simply do not have the energy to deal with this. I am dealing with life. But whoever truly values democracy needs to be afraid, because this is a very cynical use of free speech.”
“Twenty years after the assassination, if this kind of film is screened in a festival, don’t be surprised if a few bad weeds turns into an entire field,” she said.