Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel By Dan Ephron


MishBookYigal Amir believed that killing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would prevent a transfer of the ancient Jewish heartland to Arab control, and he was willing to die to do it.

Rabin’s assassination at a pro-peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995 “triggered a violent backlash by both Palestinians and Israelis opposed to the conciliation process,” says Dan Ephron in “Killing a King,” which the former Newsweek Jerusalem bureau chief calls his “detailed account of the murder and the two years leading up to it.”

Ephron combined news reports, interviews and video recordings of investigators’ interrogations to create a compelling account of how Amir and his older brother Hagai — religious, middle-class students living with their Yemeni Jewish parents in Herzliya — discussed their perceived need and different means to get Rabin.

Modest Rabin wasn’t a king — he eschewed the perks of power — but his murder sent Israel into shock; it was unthinkable. The last suspected assassination had been in 1933, when Chaim  Arlosoroff was shot on a Tel Aviv beach, an unsolved crime for which Israel’s left blamed the right for decades.

Unregretful Yigal told investigators that the killing “needed to be done.” He’s serving a life sentence, forbidden to talk to journalists. Ephron’s interviews include Hagai, released in 2012 after 16 years in prison and his mother,  Geulah. The result is credible and revealing.

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