Rabbi Metzger: Amir's reaction a 'disgrace, chutzpah'

Residents of settlement where Amir to spend weekend hang signs reading "thou shall not kill,"; Yacimovich reacts to Hagai Amir's release with "nausea, disgust."

Hagai Amir is released from prison 370  (photo credit: Screenshot Channel Ten)
Hagai Amir is released from prison 370
(photo credit: Screenshot Channel Ten)
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 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 16 and a half years was not enough time for him to learn his lesson.”
Meanwhile, residents of the Shavei Shomron settlement were disturbed and surprised that Amir had chosen to spend Shabbat in their community, following his release from prison 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.
Residents 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 10 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 10 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,” Meretz secretary-general Dror Morag said. “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 Herzog 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 and no arrests were made.