Survey: 27% of religious teens support assassination of Rabin

JERUSALEM — Nearly two years after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, more than one-fourth of religious teenagers in Israel express support for the murder, according to a new Bar-Ilan University survey.

"Yigal Amir acted out of ideology" and "He had good and right intentions," were some of the responses given by the 621 youths who were polled as part of a study of the psychological responses of secular and religious teenagers to Rabin's assassination.

Some 27 percent of the religious teens polled and 4.5 percent of the secular respondents supported the assassination.

Rabin was shot as he left a peace rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995 by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Bar-Ilan law student opposed to the Labor leader's peace-process policies.

The survey group included secular high school students from Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Jaffa and a number of kibbutzim, as well as religious students from yeshivot and state religious schools in Jerusalem.

The report's author, Bar-Ilan researcher David Green, stressed that the results should be interpreted with caution.

"The polling group, as in any scientific study, does not portray the entire population," he said.

He added that "a study's nature is to make it possible to study reactions, processes and positions. With the appropriate caution, it is possible to extrapolate from the study population to the general population."

The study, involving youths ages 14 to 18, focused on two periods — reactions immediately following the assassination and reactions two months later.

Students were asked to express their views about Amir in an open-ended question.

The study also found that 21.9 percent of the religious youth and 32.8 percent of the secular youth believed that Amir was "unstable and not responsible for his actions."