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Yigal Amir

(1970 - )

Yigal Amir is the Jewish assasin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Amir (born May 23, 1970) was born and raised by a Haredi family in Herziliya, Israel and attended religious schools throughout his academic life. At the age of 18, Amir joined in a hesder yeshiva before being drafted and serving in the Israel Defense Forces. After finishing his military service, Amir enrolled in Tel Aviv University as a law and computer science student.

At university Amir showed a propensity for being a right-wing radical and helped to organize a number of rallies and protests in the Tel Aviv area against the Oslo Accords that Rabin had signed in 1993 with the Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat. Amir even revealed to a friend of his that he planned to kill the Israeli Prime Minister.

On November 4, 1995, Prime Minister Rabin and President Shimon Peres were present at a large rally in Tel Aviv's 'Kings of Israel' Square (since renamed 'Rabin Square') in support of peace with the Palestinians. As Rabin prepared to leave the demonstration in his official limousine, Amir, who had been waiting in an parking lot adjacent to the square, lept towards the Prime Minister and shot Rabin twice with a semi-automatic pistol. Rabin was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died of blood loss less than an hour later. One of his bodyguards, Yoram Rubin, was also injured in the attack.

Grabbed swiftly by government bodyguards, Amir expressed no regrets for his actions. His trail began in late January 1996 and ran until late March of the same year and he was sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional six years for injuring Rubin. Attempts to defend his actions on Jewish religious grounds fell through and court-appointed psychiatrists also testified that they believed Amir was fully in control and understood his actions. The court later added an additional eight years to Amir's sentence for conspiring to assassinate Rabin with his brother and a friend.

Though life sentences in Israel are usually reduced to a period of 20 to 30 years by the president, in 2005 the Knesset passed a bill that barred a president from pardoning the sentence for any assassin of a prime minister.

In August 2004, Amir was married by proxy to Larisa Trimbobler and despite never having really met, the Rabbinical court of Israel upheld their marriage though the Civil courts did not. In October 2006, Amir was allowed a conjugal visit with Larisa and four months later it was reported that she had become pregnant. Larisa gave birth to a son in 2007 and they were allowed to hold the brit milah at Rimonim prison with Amir in attendance. The ceremony took place on November 4, 2007 - the 12 year anniversary of Rabin's assassination.

Sources: Washington Post (May 14, 1999); Haaretz (March 31, 2011); Wikipedia. Photo Credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images