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Former Shin Bet informant charged with failing to prevent Rabin murder

JERUSALEM, April 25 (JTA) — An Israeli court has charged a former informer for Israel’s domestic security service with failing to prevent the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. According to prosecutors, Avishai Raviv, who was recruited to join the Shin Bet in 1987, failed to inform his handlers that Yigal Amir planned to hurt or assassinate Rabin. Raviv, known as “Champagne” by his Shin Bet handlers, was also charged Sunday with supporting a terrorist organization for his involvement in founding the extremist group Eyal that allegedly supported violence. If he is found guilty of all charges, he faces up to seven years in prison. Raviv and Amir knew each other from their student days at Bar-Ilan University. Declassified portions of a government report issued in 1997 said 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. In a separate development, a Tel Aviv district court rejected an appeal from Amir’s friend, Margalit Har-Shefi, who was sentenced last year to nine months in jail on similar charges. Har-Shefi’s attorney said he planned to file an appeal with Israel’s Supreme Court. Amir is serving a life sentence for Rabin’s murder. His brother Hagai is serving a 12-year sentence, and a friend, Dror Adani, was sentenced to seven years for the crime.