Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

From the Hebrew Press: Rabin's Murder Spotlights Religious Influence in Israeli Police and Army

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

From the Hebrew Press: Rabin's Murder Spotlights Religious Influence in Israeli Police and Army

Article excerpt

From the Hebrew Press: Rabin's Murder Spotlights Religious Influence in Israeli Police and Army

By Dr. Israel Shahak

Since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's murder, both Likud supporters and Israeli journalists who have supported Rabin and the Oslo accords have charged that the Israeli secret police (called GSS, the General Security Service or, in Hebrew, the Shabak), which is supposed to guard the prime minister, has at least failed in its duty if it did not actually facilitate the murder. On Nov. 6, barely two days after the murder, Sever Plotzker suggested in Yediot Ahronot the possibility of a conspiracy because "that murder was a well-planned act in all its details. It was seemingly based on reliable inside information...It looks as if it was not only by chance that the murderer was able to come as close to the prime minister as he did." Although Plotzker acknowledged that the likelihood of a conspiracy was low, he added that "nevertheless, we should not dismiss this probability offhand."

Subsequently some of the bestknown commentators of the Hebrew press and some Israeli ministers became convinced of the probability that employees of the Israeli secret police either passively helped or actively participated in Rabin's murder. Respected journalist Shalom Yerushalmi, who is very close to the Labor Party, noted in the Nov. 15 Ma'ariv that as a result of "the terrible contradictions" apparent in the many announcements of the secret police, "several ministers are beginning to suspect that the murder resulted either from an internal conspiracy or from a conspiracy including both internal and external factors. The internal factors do not include persons in high levels of the secret police, well-known for their staunch support of the government's positions, but perhaps they include some at lower levels who operate in the field."

In the Nov. 22 Ma'ariv, Yerushalmi was more explicit. He described two detailed conspiracy theories, one held by "activists of the extreme right and the settlers" and the other by the "several ministers" who told him about their suspicions a week before. Both theories begin with two facts not doubted now by anyone in Israel except Rabin's successor as prime minister, Shimon Peres.

The first is that the secret police had employed extreme right-wing activist Avishai Raviv not only as an informant but also as an agent provocateur, licensed to commit such crimes as beating up Palestinians in Hebron and distributing photos of Rabin dressed in a Nazi SS uniform. The second fact is that the secret police had abundant information about Jews seriously intending to assassinate Rabin (including the intentions of the actual murderer), but not only did not warn the police or the organizers of the rally in which Rabin was killed about this possibility, but told them explicitly that the only threat to murder the prime minister came from Arabs.

This means that someone in the secret police stopped such information from reaching the appropriate persons on purpose. According to a story in Yediot Ahronot on Nov. 8, Rabin himself had refused to believe that "a Jew would try to assassinate a Jewish prime minister."

The first theory (which, in my view, should not be hastily discounted because of the nature of its supporters) holds that "the secret police conspired with Yigal Amir and allowed him to proceed with his insane plan to reach the prime minister and fire at him with blank bullets which it had put previously in his revolver. By this means persons in the secret police intended to besmirch the [Israeli] right wing. But a terrible mishap occurred, and the blank bullets were exchanged for real ones."

In Yerushalmi's view the second theory, held by "several ministers," is more probable. It postulates that "one or two secret police agents identified with murderous fascism and it is they who purposely blocked dissemination of the information about the intended murder. The chief of the secret police or his deputy, both of whom support the Labor Party's ideology, are not accused of this. …

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