Yigal Amir was born in
Herzliya to an Israeli
Yemenite Jewish family, one of eight children. His father, Shlomo, was a
sofer, and held a post supervising the
slaughtering of chickens. He also taught
Shabbat lessons at a local
synagogue. His mother, Geula, was a kindergarten teacher, and ran a nursery school in family home's backyard. Amir attended a
Haredi elementary school in Herzliya, and a high school
Tel Aviv. He did his military service in the
Israel Defense Forces as a
Hesder student, combining army service in a religious platoon of the
Golani Brigade with religious study at
Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh. Despite being in a religious unit, even his comrades considered him a religious fanatic.
Following his military service, Amir was nominated by the religious-
Zionist youth movement
Bnei Akiva to teach Judaism in
Latvia, as part of
In 1993, Amir began studying at
Bar-Ilan University as part of its
kollel program, mixing religious and secular studies. Amir studied
computer science, as well as Jewish law at the Institute for Advanced Torah Studies.
 Amir was heavily opposed to the
Oslo Accords. He participated in protest rallies against the accords on campus, was active in organizing weekend bus outings to support
Israeli settlers, and helped found an illegal settlement outpost. He was especially active in
Hebron, where he led marches through the streets.
During his years as an activist, Amir became friendly with
Avishai Raviv, to whom he revealed his plan to kill Rabin. While Raviv posed as a right-wing radical, he was working for
Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service. Some rightists have accused the Shin Bet of having orchestrated the assassination to discredit them.
In 1994, during his university studies, Amir met - and began a (non-sexual) relationship with - Nava Holtzman, a law student from an
Ashkenazi family. In January 1995, after five months, Holtzman ended the relationship after her parents objected due to Amir's
 She married one of his friends soon afterwards. Amir, who attended the wedding, went into a deep depression.