Protests at jail ceremony for son of Rabin's assassin

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The newborn son of Yitzhak Rabin's assassin was circumcised inside a heavily guarded prison yesterday, exactly 12 years after the Israeli prime minister was gunned down at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

The ceremony came after a saga that has caused turmoil in Israel since the baby was born last week. Rabin's family, and much of the public, opposed a court decision allowing Yigal Amir to attend the circumcision of his son, while a vocal group of Israeli ultra-nationalists voiced solidarity with Amir.

Several dozen dovish protesters, some holding posters of Rabin, crowded outside Rimonim Prison before the ceremony.

"He killed a prime minister – he is not like any other murderer," said Matan Josefor-Berg, 25. "He tried to destroy our democracy by [killing] Rabin."

Protesters shouted as Amir's wife and baby arrived in a van. The baby's face was concealed behind a white blanket as a crowd of photographers swarmed around, pushing at each other to get a picture of the child.The Israeli media said the boy was named Yinon Elia Shalom Amir.

Amir, an Orthodox Jew, shot Rabin dead after a peace rally on 4 November, 1995, because he opposed the prime minister's policy of ceding land for peace with the Palestinians.

Amir was sentenced to life in prison and has been held in isolation since. But over the past year, he has been permitted conjugal visits with his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, whom he married while in prison. The boy was born last week, and according to Jewish tradition, a healthy Jewish male is circumcised eight days after his birth.

An Israeli court rejected a request by Amir to leave jail to attend his son's circumcision, but said the ceremony could take place inside his prison.

The birth comes at a time of growing sympathy for Amir. Israeli extremists and Amir's family have launched a campaign to have him released from prison, and a recent newspaper poll indicated that about a quarter of Israelis, including almost half of religiously observant Jews, think Amir should be pardoned in 2015 after serving 20 years.

The circumcision came a day after more than 100,000 Israelis gathered to remember the former prime minister and condemn his assassin at the square where he was killed.