It appears that convicted assassin Yigal Amir has got the best of it after all. Despite not less than 3 petitions to the High Court of Justice, and a crowd of angry protestors outside of Ayalon Prison where Amir is incarcerated, he and a select group of family members were allowed to consecrate his son into the covenant of Israel. Though the ceremony was supposed to be “minimal” with Amir showing up for it in handcuffs and wearing prison garb, the fact that Attorney General Meny Mazuz refused to interfere only validates Amir being granted this privilege which comes on the heels of being allowed to perform his “marriage right” with his wife, Larissa Trembobler, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with his child.

When interviewed early Sunday morning by an Israel Radio news reporter, an unnamed prison official said as follows: “Yes, damn him; we will open a small section of the prison hospital for this event. But it will be as brief and as minimal as possible!”

Saturday evening, on the eve of the date that has now gone down as one of the most tragic in modern Jewish history, at least 150,000 people gathered in Rabin Square to mourn together the 12th anniversary of that fateful night, November 4, 1995. What makes the entire affair so tragically meaningful to many in the State of Israel is that not only a great leader was slain on that night; but Israel’s claim to be a moral ‘light unto to nations’ was severely challenged as well. Democracy and religious tolerance has been challenged by religious fanaticism in a manner not unlike that of countries in medieval Europe, or here in the Middle East. Reports circulating around the country say that at least half of world religious Jewry. In fact, more than 120,000 copies of an inflammatory CD have been circulated throughout both Israel and the religious Jewish world calling for Amir’s release from prison.

What this amounts to, along with groups fanatically opposing any kind of peace deal with the Palestinians, is a division among the people themselves – a line drawn in the sand as the old saying goes. Either one steps over it and joins that element dedicated to instituting their way, or choose to take another path which might lead to peace. This was the path that Yitzhak Rabin so reluctantly chose to stride on. And that “path” resulted in his paying the ultimate price at the hands of a religious Jew who had formerly worked for a government sponsored religious studies program and was studying to become a lawyer. Anyone who has studied or practices law knows that a lawyer must agree to uphold the laws of the state of country in which he or she practices. Obviously, Amir chose to walk a different path altogether.

When Amir’s son reaches an age when he can confront the issue of what his father did, what will be feelings about it, and how will his fellow Israelis feel about it? If already hundreds of thousands of Israelis feel that Amir should be pardoned for his crime, how many will feel this way in 13 years when the boy will be Bar Mitzvah age? What is justice, or someone’s interpretation of justice? Is Civil Jurisprudence to be usurped by religious fanaticism as it has been in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia? Western countries like America or even Gt. Britain would now have allowed Yigal Amir the concessions he has received. Why has this country’s officials chosen to do so?