JERUSALEM (Jun. 15)
A friend of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin has been convicted of knowing his plans in advance but failing to warn police.
A Tel Aviv court ruled Sunday that there were inconsistencies in the testimony of Margalit Har-Shefi, 22, who had maintained she thought Yigal Amir was merely boasting of plans to assassinate Rabin.
The offense — knowing about but failing to prevent a crime — carries a maximum sentence of two years. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
Amir, an ultranationalist university student opposed to the peace process with the Palestinians, assassinated Rabin at the end of a Nov. 4, 1995, peace rally in Tel Aviv.
Amir, who stated that he wanted to prevent Rabin from ceding land to the Palestinians, is serving a life sentence for the assassination.
Amir’s brother, Hagai, and a friend, Dror Adani, were convicted in a separate conspiracy trial of plotting to kill Rabin.
Hagai Amir was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Adani was sentenced to seven.
Har-Shefi, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, knew Amir from their days at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and from rallies they both attended to oppose the peace process.
Har-Shefi had testified that she never took Amir’s invective against the prime minister seriously and did not think he would act on it.
But the court ruled that she and Amir shared a common political activism, that she knew of two previous attempts Amir made on Rabin’s life and that she was aware of Amir’s interest in forming an underground group to attack Palestinians.
During the reading of the verdict, Har-Shefi remained expressionless.
Her uncle, Knesset member Binyamin Alon of the far-right Moledet Party, later described the ruling as ridiculous.
“This young girl is found guilty of failing to prevent the assassination of the prime minister, while no steps are taken against the General Security Service, which failed in its explicit responsibility of failing to prevent such a thing from happening,” Alon told Israel Radio.
“I think all this will come out in the appeal.”
Meanwhile, Rabin’s widow, Leah, termed the ruling a “ray of light in the darkness surrounding us.”
She said the trial had thrown a spotlight on the climate of right-wing incitement that had preceded her husband’s murder.