A poll published by Maariv, Israel's second largest daily, this week shows that 28% of the Israeli public believes that Yigal Amir, who was convicted of the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, did not kill Rabin. Twenty -six percent of the Israeli public supports allowing Yigal Amir, who was convicted of the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, to leave prison in 2015.
Even more striking is the finding that 14% of Israelis - and 38% of the religious public - believe that Amir should be immediately pardoned.
On the other hand, 59% of the public, and 32% of the religious public, believe Amir should never be released from prison.
Release for the Brit?
Nearly a third of the populace feels Amir should be allowed out for a few hours when his future baby son is expected to undergo his brit milah, ritual circumcision in approximately one month.
MK Yaakov Cohen of the hareidi-religious United Torah Judaism party said he understands why so many people would like to see Amir out of prison: "True, he did something very grave, but if hundreds of murderous terrorists can be released, then we have to rethink it. If everything is open, then everything is open."
Later, after being accused of favoring a pardon for Yigal Amir, MK Cohen clarified, "I, personally, am against releasing Yigal Amir. I meant that it is understandable why some would think otherwise. Whoever murders another Jew, and especially a Prime Minister, must remain in prison until his last day."
Did Amir Kill Rabin?
The question of whether it was Amir who murdered Rabin is still a matter of national debate. Nearly half of the religious public (46%), and well over a quarter (28%) of the public at large, believe that Amir was not the culprit.
Though the Shamgar Commission found that Amir, working alone, was the murderer, many questions have been raised against the official version of the killing. These include:
• Why did the lone video of the assassination, the Kempler video, focus in on Amir for so many minutes prior to the killing?
Click here to view the full Kempler Video if it does not appear below.
• Why was Amir allowed to stand, unguarded and by himself, in the area that was supposed to be sterile, as documented in the Kempler video?
• Why, in the Kempler video frame released by the government, does Amir's arm appear to be several feet long? And why is his left arm seen shooting, when he is right-handed?
• How is it that an eye-witness to the event, Miriam Oren, was filmed at the site telling reporters emphatically and repeatedly, "I saw that Rabin was not hurt"?
• How did Rabin's armored car back door close (7:18 min. into the Kempler video) as the car prepared to speed away, with Rabin inside, if no one else was in the back seat, as the car occupants later testified?
• Why was Rabin's wife, the late Leah Rabin, told at first that the entire incident was just an exercise and a fake? Why was she told in advance not to travel with her husband? [source: Ha'olam Ha'ishah magazine, Issue 193, November, 1999, page 21]
• Why was the call, "Blanks, blanks!" heard when the shots rang out? Why did the Shamgar Commission not determine who shouted this?
• Why was the assassin not killed immediately?
The last three questions have been asked publicly by Rabin's daughter, former MK Dalia Rabin-Pilosoph. Rabin's son Yuval has also raised doubts about the official version, even demanding the re-opening of the investigation into the murder.
• Why did then-Health Minister Dr. Ephraim Sneh say on television that night [45 seconds into video below] that Rabin had been wounded by bullets to the chest, stomach, and spinal cord, when in fact the video shows that Amir fired from the back? [Click here if you cannot see Sneh video below]
• Why did the Director of Ichilov Hospital Dr. Gabi Barabash, who was in the operating room when Rabin was treated for his wounds, say on national TV [55 seconds into video below] that Rabin suffered from a wound to his chest, when Amir was seen firing from behind? [If you cannot see Barabash video below, click here]
Click here for English transcript of Hebrew Barabash interview
Rabin assassination researcher David Rutstein notes the contradictions in the number of bullet wounds, where Barabash says only two wounds - one to the chest and one to the spleen - while Sneh counts three wounds, including one in the back. Rutstein says the third bullet wound mentioned by Sneh "was just put there after Rabin was already dead in order to match all the eyewitness accounts which stated that Yigal Amir shot Rabin in the back." Rutstein emphasizes that after their initial, live screenings, the Sneh and Barabash videos were never again aired on government-controlled media, despite their historic significance.
• Why did the three doctors who operated on Rabin submit, in their handwritten medical report [see picture below], that Rabin suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, when Amir was seen firing at Rabin only from behind?
• Why did security guard Yoram Rubin testify before the Shamgar Commission that Rabin was shot at 9:50 PM, when in fact Yigal Amir was arrested at 9:30 PM?
• Why did Rabin's driver, Menachem Damti, testify before the Commission and at Amir's trial that he drove to Ichilov Hospital in less than two minutes, when the ride actually took over 20 minutes? Could this question be connected to the previous one?
• Why did Rabin's top aide Eitan Haber destroy evidence? He told the Commission that he took Rabin's possessions from Ichilov Hospital, and later told the Jerusalem newspaper Kol Ha'ir that on the same night he cleaned out Rabin's filing cabinets at the Prime Minister's office.
• Why did official State Pathologist Dr. Yehuda Hiss remove the mention of a chest and spine wound from the autopsy report, when in fact all the other doctors there, including Gutman, Sneh and Barabash, reported that Rabin died of a shattered spine with bullet entry through the chest?
• Why did the chief judge at Yigal Amir's trial, Edmond Levy, dismiss the testimony of police forensics expert Inspector Baruch Gladstein, who proved categorically that one gun shot was fired into Rabin at point-blank range - about a half-meter closer than Amir ever got to Rabin?
The late Adir Zik, Arutz-7's popular broadcaster who waged a long struggle to uncover the truth behind the Rabin assassination and the campaign of incitement against the nationalist campaign that followed it, often said that his main objection to the official version was the behavior of the guards. He said that from his conversations with members of the VIP bodyguard unit, he knew they were trained to shoot immediately if a gun is drawn in the immediate vicinity of the VIP.
"VIP bodyguards told me," said Zik, "that if, through some foul-up, an assassin were to fire one shot, he would be filled with bullets long before firing a second. How is it possible that Amir was able to get off not only two, but three shots, without being felled by the guards?" He concluded that they had been instructed previously not to shoot - and that this could only be if it was coordinated in advance that the "assassin" would in fact be firing only blanks.