Margalit Har-Shefi of Beit El is engaged to marry a man from Be’er Sheva, a member of the Chabad chassidic movement. The engagement party was held Sunday in Jerusalem.
Fifteen years ago, when she was a 19-year-old law student, Har-Shefi was publicly blamed of being complicit in the murder of Prime Miniter Yitzchak Rabin. She had known assassin Yigal Amir, and was convicted of not taking seriously and therefore not reporting, remarks he made about murdering Rabin which she said she considered mere rhetoric. She was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Even attempts by Emunah, the Religious Zionist Women’s Organization, to let her be at home for the Passover Seder were denied and she was only allowed to conduct the seder with a Chabad volunteer so as not to spend it in the company of criminals.
In recent years, many public figures have come forth to fight to retroactively exonerate Har-Shefi. In 2007, former Israel Security Agency (Shabak) head Ami Ayalon announced that Har-Shefi was falsely convicted. “Har-Shefi did not know that Yigal Amir wanted to murder the Prime Minister. I know this from intelligence, I was head of the intelligence agency,” he declared.
In 2001, as she began her jail term, Har-Shefi said, “I am being sent to prison today for one reason only: They had to find someone to blame, to cover up for an entire network that fell asleep on the job – as if I, a 19-year-old girl at the time, was the one who could have saved the country from this terrible trauma.”
She admitted after the Rabin assassination that she – like many others – had heard Yigal Amir say that he wanted to kill the prime minister. However, she has argued from the beginning that his threats sounded “imaginary,” and that if she had known that Amir actually planned to commit murder, she would have done everything in her power to stop him.
Politicians and activists on the political Left opposed the move to vindicate Har-Shefi, although their arguments were largely philosophical, and did not mention the specifics of the case, such as Ayalon’s declaration that Har-Shefi was innocent. MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said, “We must not pardon or relieve the burden of anyone who was involved in Rabin’s murder,” and added that anyone who does so is “no less than a collaborator.”
The far-Left Peace Now organization accused those speaking up for Har-Shefi of running “a cynical campaign whose aim is to cover up the murder and pardon Yigal Amir in the future.”
Once out of prison, Har-Shefi’ was hounded by the left and then-Education Minister Yossi Sarid refused to allow her to engage in education, even as a teaching assistant.