High Court paves way for Yigal Amir to attend son's brit

Brit to take place in prison on Sunday, the 12th anniversary of the day Amir shot and killed Rabin.

The brit mila of Yigal Amir's baby will take place in prison in his father's presence on Sunday, the 12th anniversary of the day Amir shot and killed prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, after the High Court of Justice on Friday rejected three petitions calling on it to overturn a lower court ruling. On Thursday, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel overruled a Prisons Service decision to reject Amir's request to either be allowed a leave to attend his son's brit outside Rimonim Prison or to allow the ceremony to take place inside the prison located near Beersheba. Gurfinkel ruled "to enable [Amir] to participate in the brit ceremony of his son that will take place inside the prison, after coordinating the matter with the relevant bodies. They, in turn, will allow a limited number of participants who are close members of the family of the petitioner, and who have permission to visit him anyway, to attend. Anyone who does not normally have permission to visit him will not be allowed to enter the prison to attend the brit." Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said he would not ask the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the ruling. However private individuals and groups submitted three petitions to the High Court. One asked the court to overturn Gurfinkel's decision. The other two petitioned the court to order Mazuz to reconsider his decision and appeal to the Supreme Court. The High Court unanimously rejected all three petitions. The one aimed directly at the lower court ruling was rejected out of hand because according to the law, one cannot petition the High Court to reject a lower court ruling. Such rulings can only be appealed. As for the other two, the court ruled that "when it comes to a decision of the attorney-general as to whether or not to appeal a lower court decision that has been given after the court dealt and ruled on the matter, the High Court's power to intervene will be even more limited than it is regarding a decision made by the attorney-general before the matter has gone to court." The judges ruled that this was all the more so true in a case where the attorney-general did not have the right to appeal, but had to request permission from the Supreme Court to do so, since the regular hierarchy of the appeal process had been exhausted after the district court ruled on the matter. The judges wrote that even though they could understand the feelings of the petitioners and like-minded people, the High Court had to adhere to judicial practice. "The ceremony that is being planned causes injury to the feelings of the public, especially when it occurs on the day of mourning in which we remember the prime minister whose life was terminated at the hands of a disgraceful killer," wrote Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. "The killer fired a bullet that not only struck Yitzhak Rabin but also struck at the heart of Israel's democracy."