Last updated: 17 January, 2013

Rabin assassin backs hardline Bennett in Israeli vote

The man who killed Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 is backing the hardline national religious Jewish Home led by Naftali Bennett in next week’s election, his mother said on Thursday.

Yigal Amir, a Jewish rightwing extremist, is serving a life sentence for the November 4, 1995 assassination of Rabin, for which he has never expressed regret.

Speaking to Israel’s military radio, his mother Geula said she was not planning to vote in the January 22 elections, but that her son had made his preference clear.

“I know that he’s leaning towards Bennett and that he is trying to convince other members of the family to vote for him,” she said.

In Israel, prisoners have the right to vote, although it was not clear if Yigal Amir planned to cast a ballot or had simply announced his backing for Bennett’s faction.

Jewish Home, under the hardline Bennett, has seen its popularity soar, and is expected to win around 15 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, making it the third largest party in the Knesset, after the centre-left Labour and the rightwing front runner, Likud Beitenu.

It means Jewish Home will likely be part in the next coalition government likely to be put together by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bennett criticised the news of Amir’s “endorsement,” saying “this whole thing is intended to make people think that if the vote for Jewish Home they’ll be voting like a murderer.”