Ex-Shin Bet head says rabbis partly to blame for Rabin’s killing

Carmi Gillon, who ran agency at time of assassination, says roots of next murder planted among right-wing extremists who carry out ‘price tag’ attacks

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Former Shin Bet head Carmi Gillon (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Former Shin Bet head Carmi Gillon (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Rabbis who incited their followers share responsibility for the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the head of the Shin Bet at the time of the killing said Wednesday, on the 18th anniversary of the shooting.

Carmi Gillon, who directed the internal security agency from 1994 to 1996, also blamed law enforcement for failing to “deal with the rabbis who are behind every Jewish underground attack,” and said the next assassination would be rooted in “price tag” attacks.

“Behind Yigal Amir,” he said, “let there be no doubt, stand rabbis.”

Rabin was shot dead on November 4, 1995, by Amir, a right-wing extremist.

Gillon, who also headed the Shin Bet division monitoring Jewish terrorism for five years, made his remarks to students at the Holon Institute of Technology.

Gillon declined to name the specific rabbis to whom he was referring, but indicated their identities were no secret.

“And who are the rabbis who are inciting young people to a crime like this? We know. But, we need balls… we must arrest the rabbis and have them face justice,” he said, adding that the identities of the rabbis “are recorded in Amir’s testimony.”

Gillon drew a direct line between contemporary price tag attacks and Rabin’s murder.

“I expect the State Prosecutor to fight with determination…,” Gillon said, “not to flee from the issue that is most threatening of all to the quality of our life in Israel, and that is the price tag attackers, as an example.”

The term price tag is used by Jewish extremists to describe attacks carried out against non-Jews or their property, ostensibly as retribution for Israeli government actions deemed contrary to settler interests.

“Price tag attacks could lead to the murder of a prime minister… The roots and foundations of the murder of a prime minister are planted in price tag attacks,” he said.

Rabin served as Israel’s chief of staff during the Six Day War in 1967. He was later ambassador to the US, defense minister and twice prime minister. In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Peres — then Israel’s foreign minister — and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat for his part in signing the Oslo peace accords a year earlier.

“Yigal Amir didn’t hide anything in his interrogation,” Gillon said. “He was proud of his actions… He wanted to brag.”

Gillon also denounced leading figures on the right at the time of the assassination for ignoring his warnings about right-wing violence, arguing that “the writing was on the wall.”

“When I met with Ariel Sharon , with Bibi Netanyahu, with the heads of the [settlers’] Yesha Council, rabbis, during the month of August 1995, and I spoke with them about this, they thought I was hallucinating,” he said. “Our destroyers come from within.”

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