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Understanding Yigal Amir


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 24, 5779
How do you explain Yigal Amir (the man who murdered PM Rabin)? Isn’t he Orthodox?
Many would say that Yigal Amir is simply crazy, as seen from his action. I never met him, but from what Iv'e heard from his friends and his sister whom I taught, that's untrue, and in my opinion, it's also unwise to "demonize" him. The Torah wants to educate us to be idealistic, but sometimes, especially among young people, there is a thin line between an idealist, and one who is dangerous. He, like half the country at the time, thought that Rabin and his leftist government, which brought the biggest wave of terrorism in the history of Israel, with buses blowing up regularly and hundreds of terrorist acts to push Israel into making even more concessions, were endangering the State of Israel (in fact,the Labor party has been voted out of power for the last 20 years). At the time, the sarcastic minority (!) Rabin government (relying on the Arab members of Knesset), the liberal Supreme Court and the left-leaning press, actually brought the anti-Rabin majority of the Jews in the country to the brink of despair. This terribly mistaken young man, thought that he alone knew the answer, and without rabbinical advice, thought he had to overcome his natural and religious morality, and did the unthinkable and extremely prohibited. Accordingly, davka because we want to raise our youth to be idealistic and altruistic, it's important to utilize the example of Yigal Amir, to show the tragic danger involved in simplistic thinking, as if one person and one extreme action, can solve complex problems. It must be clear to all that no matter what, even "in the name of God", Jews cannot and will not fight and murder each other, the tragedy which brought the destruction of the 2nd Temple. That youthful daring and idealism, if not guided by older, wiser and more experienced rabbinic authority, can easily be extremely dangerous and tragically mistaken.
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