Twenty years on: Sketches from Yigal Amir trial reveal a murderer's smile

Artist who documented the historic trial through drawings recalls "the man who killed Rabin, laughing."

October 28, 2015 16:29
1 minute read.

Twenty years on: Sketches from Yigal Amir trial reveal a murderer's smile

Twenty years on: Sketches from Yigal Amir trial reveal a murderer's smile


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Twenty years after the assassination of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, sketches documenting the historic trial of his killer, Yigal Amir, are now on display. Artist Jack Jano was one of the few people allowed access to the high-profile trial, tasked with documenting its developments through sketches, since photographers were not allowed into the Tel Aviv courtroom.

At the time of the trial, the hundreds of drawings produced by Jano were splashed across news broadcasts around the world. As the trial came to a close and Amir was sentenced to life in prison, Jano's sketches were bundled into a studio among hundreds of his other works. Now they are on display at the Engel gallery in Tel Aviv, until the end of November. 

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This was Jano's first time working in court and he likens the experience to being in a Shakespeare theater. "I saw the court figures, and the man who killed Rabin - laughing," he tells The Jerusalem Post. "He was always giving little smiles, and I was surprised about that."

Jano emphasizes that at the time he affiliated with neither the Right nor the Left and wanted to capture the process with an objective eye, but he recalls sentiments of shock and sadness. He says he was surprised at how a "small boy" like Amir could kill the large, important figure that Rabin was. He remembers that there were high tensions throughout the trial, lots of police, and many people trying to get into the court.

"I tried to be as real as I could," he says of his drawings. "I felt important. It was the most I could do to contribute to the situation without pushing any idea."

Twenty years on, he says the experience is like a dream. "It's like I opened a dusty suitcase and looked inside," says the grandfather of nine, who now resides in the Galilee.

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