JERUSALEM (Nov. 8)
Four years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, his family still believes there are unanswered questions surrounding the slaying.
As a result, last week’s commemoration of the Nov. 4, 1995, assassination was accompanied by a growing debate about reopening the investigation into the murder.
Public figures and political leaders support the call by members of Rabin’s family to answer lingering questions — but they disagree over whether a new panel should be appointed to investigate.
The issue came up at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. Prime Minister Ehud Barak told his ministers that if the Rabin family or anyone else has questions about the assassination, he would refer them to the attorney general.
Barak said he has not received any such request, but he let the Cabinet read the classified portions of a 1997 government report on the assassination so each minister could decide for themselves whether a further probe is necessary.
During the Cabinet session, most of the ministers said they do not think there is any need for a further inquiry.
Among the issues raised by Rabin’s family were the reports of shouts of “blanks, blanks” as Rabin was shot.
The state commission of inquiry — created in the aftermath of the assassination and headed by retired Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar – - left the issue unanswered.
“My mother heard the shouts with absolute certainty. She called me at home immediately after the shooting and said, `They shot Daddy, but it wasn’t real,’” Rabin’s daughter, Center Party Knesset member Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, told Israel’s La’Isha magazine.
At the same time, she stressed that she did not mean to support or give credence to conspiracy theories alleging that the Shin Bet domestic security service was involved in the assassination.
Other questions surround the possible role played by former Shin Bet agent Avishai Raviv, who infiltrated extreme right-wing ranks and is currently on trial for failing to prevent Rabin’s assassination.
Declassified portions of the government report on the slaying said Raviv failed to tell the Shin Bet about assassin Yigal Amir’s repeated boasts that he was planning to kill Rabin.
Amir, an ultranationalist university student who said he wanted to prevent Rabin from ceding land to the Palestinians, is serving a life sentence for firing the fatal shots at a Tel Aviv peace rally.
Amir’s brother, Hagai, and a friend, Dror Adani, were convicted 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.
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.