Israel Planning to Indict Friend of Rabin’s Assassin

Israel’s attorney general has recommended that a former undercover agent stand trial for failing to prevent the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Avishai Raviv, 31, served as an informant for the Shin Bet domestic security service in the months preceding the assassination. An operative among the extreme right-wing and a friend of assassin Yigal Amir, Raviv became a source of controversy in the aftermath of the slaying.

Declassified portions of a government report issued last year stated that Raviv failed to tell the Shin Bet about Amir’s repeated boasts that he was planning to kill Rabin.

“Raviv was closer to [Amir] than anyone else in organizing student demonstrations and weekends in Judea and Samaria,” the Shamgar Commission report said, adding that it was surprising “that in his report on Yigal Amir, he did not mention or hint at Amir’s known statements about plans to attack the prime minister, which he voiced more than once in his circle of friends.”

The report also described how Raviv repeatedly attacked Arabs, initiated attacks against Jewish settlement leaders he considered too moderate and repeatedly told friends, including Amir, that the assassination could be justified on religious grounds.

Wednesday’s indictment comes on the third anniversary of the assassination.

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein told reporters that although Raviv did not know the precise date or plan for the slaying, he knew of assassin Amir’s intentions.

Rubinstein said the decision to try Raviv was based solely on evidence, and did not reflect the stormy public debate that erupted after the declassified portions of the report were issued.

Rubinstein said those sections of the report painted a picture of Raviv as a problematic agent who had been suspended during his service for improper behavior.

Rubinstein said that after reviewing the case, he could not avoid bringing Raviv to trial.

The attorney general also recommended that Raviv be indicted for remarks he made inciting violence against Arabs.

Right-wing legislators welcomed Rubinstein’s decision.

“This removes the accusing finger which said the right-wing was responsible for inciting against the prime minister,” said Likud Knesset member Ze’ev Boim. The decision shows Raviv “as being at the center of the matter, a hooligan who incited and heated up the [political] atmosphere.”

Amir is serving a life sentence for assassinating Rabin.

His brother, Hagai, and a friend, Dror Adani, were convicted in October 1996 in a separate conspiracy trial of plotting to kill Rabin. Hagai Amir was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Adani was sentenced to seven years.

In September, Margalit Har-Shefi, a friend of Yigal Amir, was sentenced to nine months in jail for knowing of the assassination plans in advance but failing to warn police.

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