‘Incitement’: Controversial film about Rabin assassin Yigal Amir will compete at Oscars

Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev is unhappy that the film on Rabin’s assassination will be the country’s submission to the Oscars.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

“Incitement,” a movie about the tumultuous period in Israel in the early 1990s that ended with the assassination of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, won the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars – the Ophir Award for Best Picture -on Sunday night.

This automatically makes it the country’s entry for Best Foreign Film category for the Oscars.

The film was made from the supposed point of view of Rabin’s convicted killer, Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for the actions he took in 1995 to try to stop the implementation of the Oslo Accords.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev had refused to allow public money to fund the film, saying that it was made from a left-wing perspective that tarnished an entire segment of the country for the murder just because it protested against the Rabin government for handing over parts of Israel to the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization.

Following the announcement of the win, Regev said, “There is no room for a movie about Yigal Amir. There is no place for a film that tries to understand him or his motivations, or to hint or accuse others of being behind his heinous act.”

“I protest the attempt to hint that Yigal Amir received backing from a [particular] social and political environment,” she added.

As a firm loyalist of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she was especially angered, saying, “The filmmakers did not miss an opportunity to attribute part of the incitement campaign [against Rabin] to Netanyahu, something that is a distortion and an attempt to mislead the public which was completely detached from reality.”

Since the drama was overtly political, it was no surprise that director Yaron Zilberman injected a bit of politics in his acceptance speech, especially since the awards ceremony follows hard on the heels of an Israeli election in which there were no clear winners.

Calling Rabin “a giant who was murdered in the struggle for peace,” he said that following Tuesday’s vote he hoped that “we are now at the beginning of an era with leaders who will unite the nation and not split it apart.”

Unlike in the United States, many movies that the Israeli Academy of Film and Television considers for the Ophir awards are not first released to the public. “Incitement” will only open in local theaters on Wednesday. The biggest exposure the film has had to date has been in Canada, where it featured in the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month.

Although Israel’s Oscar hopeful was nominated for 10 awards, it only won one other Ophir, for best casting.