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Orthodox Rabbis Sign Document Excommunicating Rabin’s Assassin

October 15, 1999
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A group of 54 Orthodox rabbis in Israel has excommunicated the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Thursday’s ruling — which came prior to the fourth anniversary of the Nov. 4, 1995, assassination — bars Jews from visiting Yigal Amir in prison, talking with him or writing to him. Prison personnel and Amir’s family are exempt from the edict.

A statement issued by the rabbis declared their “shock and disgust at [Amir’s] impertinent attempt to present such a heinous murder as if it were done in the name of the Torah and in the service of the people and land of Israel.”

At his trial, Amir refused to express regret for his actions, saying they were justified by Jewish law. Amir is serving a life sentence for the murder.

The rabbi who initiated the action, Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg of the Har Adar settlement, said he expected more rabbis to sign the document. He added that all ethnic groups and streams in religious Zionism are represented among the signatories.

The paper said rabbis from five Jewish settlements were among those who signed. Jewish settlers were some of the strongest opponents of Rabin’s peace efforts with the Palestinians.

Rabbi Binyamin Lau, nephew of Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau, also signed the decree.

The ban will remain in effect until Amir, who is Orthodox, repents for the assassination.

Amir’s mother derided the decree.

“My son is alone in a jail cell. With whom is he to conduct a minyan?” Geula Amir said.

“It’s a joke. Nobody listens to” the rabbis, she added.

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