JERUSALEM (Sep. 27)
A friend of Yitzhak Rabin’s killer has been sentenced to nine months in jail for knowing of the assassination plans in advance but failing to warn police.
Margalit Har-Shefi, who expressed remorse for her actions for the first time after the sentencing, faced a maximum of two years in prison.
Har-Shefi, 23, 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.
In June, a Tel Aviv court found Har-Shefi guilty of failing to prevent a crime, ruling that there were inconsistencies in her testimony. She had maintained throughout her trial that she thought Amir was merely boasting of plans to assassinate Rabin.
In Sunday’s ruling, which included a 15-month suspended sentence, the judge said that if Har-Shefi had shown a greater measure of responsibility and taken more vigorous action, the Rabin assassination may not have occurred.
After the court handed down the sentence, Har-Shefi read a written statement to reporters that she had been wronged.
“Had I even had the slightest suspicion that that man meant what he said, not only would I have reported him, I would have seen it as my civic and religious duty,” she said.
“Although I am innocent,” she added, “I am not innocent of a deep sense of sorrow over what had happened.”
Har-Shefi’s lawyer said he would appeal the sentence.
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.
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 years.
Yuval Rabin, the son of the late premier, said he was not satisfied with the sentence against Har-Shefi.
He also charged that there were many others involved in the assassination plot, which he said has never been sufficiently investigated.