November 4, 2005, marks ten years since the assassination of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. Now, just before the ten year anniversary of Rabin's murder, controversial footage of the event has reappeared.
Over the years, despite continuous and intense media coverage and analysis of the assassination and its ramifications, the video of the assassination, known as the Kempler video, had virtually disappeared from public view.
Since its showing on Channel 2 Israel television two months after the assassination, the Kempler video, one of history’s most dramatic and important video clips, has been hidden, perhaps deliberately, from the eyes of the public. It was never screened again on Israel's state-regulated television, nor was it available on the internet.
Likewise, the purported maker of the video, amateur photographer Ron Kempler, appeared on television only once when the clip was screened. Since then, he appears to have vanished without a trace.
The circumstances under which the assassination occurred provided the left with fertile ground for a decade of denouncing and delegitimizing Israel's nationalist camp and its political agenda via Israel news reports, particularly against the national-religious camp. Yigal Amir, a law student, activist, and vehement opponent of the Oslo accords, who was identified politically with the national-religious camp, was arrested and convicted of carrying out the assassination.
For the 25 years prior to the assassination, that group, more than any other, had been identified with the drive to settle Israel’s ancient Biblical heartland, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, liberated during the 1967 Six-Day War.
On the other hand, Rabin’s main accomplishment as prime minister was the signing of the Oslo accords. Those accords were designed to relinquish Israeli control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and install in its place, a Palestinian state, run by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an international terrorist organization led by Yassir Arafat.
As Israel prepared to relinquish control of cities liberated in the Six-Day War to PLO control, tension in Israel between Rabin’s supporters and detractors reached a feverish pitch. The stage was set for November 4, 1995, the assassination of a prime minister, and a ten-year vendetta against the opponents of Rabin’s policies.
But did Yigal Amir really kill Yitzhak Rabin?
Not unlike the Kennedy assassination in 1963, Rabin’s assassination is riddled with factual inconsistencies that have given birth to conspiracy theories. Interestingly, both assassinations were filmed by amateur photographers. In both cases, examination and analysis of the filmed footage raise serious questions which conspiracy researchers use to support their contentions.
But while the Zapruder film is readily available for viewing and scrutiny by the general public, the Kempler video has only recently come out of hiding.
Click here to view the full Kempler Video if it does not appear below.
Private website operator David Rutstein explores on his Hebrew site glaring inconsistencies in the official assassination documents and has made available for the first time the full-length Kempler video for ongoing public scrutiny.
As a result, anyone interested in the Rabin assassination, conspiracy buffs included, can now watch the video and decide for himself whether it supports or contradicts the Israeli government’s claim that Yigal Amir acted alone in assassinating the prime minister. The conspiracy theorists contend that the upper echelons of Israel's secret service orchestrated either an assassination attempt which backfired or an actual assassination.
A number of conspiracy theorists, the most prominent among them, Barry Chamish, do not deny that Amir was involved in the assassination. Concurrently, they are not interested in exonerating Amir or granting him clemency.
Chamish claims that Amir’s weapon fired only blanks at the prime minister. The real assassin was positioned in the back seat of Rabin’s car. This unknown assassin shot and killed Rabin only after his body guard, Yoram Rubin, pushed him into the car, following Amir’s gunshots.
Persons who espouse this theory claim that if Rabin indeed had been hit by Amir’s bullet (according to medical reports, the first bullet shattered Rabin’s spine) he would not have been able to remain standing, turn aside, and cast his face, startled, in Amir’s direction. Yet Rabin does exactly this, as the video clearly indicates at the 7:10 minute mark and again in slow motion at 8:20 minutes. Rabin’s facial expression does not depict any pain, not something one would expect after sustaining a serious wound of any kind, particularly a spinal injury.
This point is reiterated by one of the three bodyguards closest to Rabin, agent S.N. (possibly S.G.) who delivered his testimony on November 16, 1995 to police Internal Security Unit officer Yoav Gazit:
"During the salvo I jumped towards the Prime Minister and his personal bodyguard (Yoram Rubin). I didn't hear any cry of pain from the Prime Minister or from his bodyguard and I didn't notice any traces (signs) of blood. I and the personal bodyguard put the Prime Minister into his car and Rubin jumped with him inside and the car quickly exited the area. At this stage it wasn't clear to me whether the PM or the bodyguard were hit or not."
One of the most astonishing and mysterious events in the film occurs after Amir fires his shots. Kempler’s video clearly and unmistakably shows (7:17 minutes into video and repeated at 8:40) the back rear door of Rabin’s vehicle close before Rabin’s body guard, Yoram Rubin, whisks the prime minister into the drivers’ side of the car. Chamish suggests that Rabin’s actual assailant may have been pre-positioned in the back seat of the car as part of a conspiracy to eliminate the prime minister.
No one has yet to come up with another plausible explanation as to why the rear door of Rabin’s Cadillac suddenly slammed shut. The prime minister’s car was not equipped with automatic doors. One explanation claims that the Cadillac’s doors were built to close automatically if the car is suddenly shaken. But the rear door shut before the others entered the vehicle. That theory also does not explain why the front door opposite the driver remained open.
Another event depicted in the video that warrants examination is the conduct of Shimon Peres, one of the main architects of the Oslo accords, who served as Rabin’s foreign minister.
At the conclusion of that night's mass demonstration in support of the Rabin government, held at a Tel Aviv park adjacent to city hall, Shimon Peres is filmed mingling with the crowd just meters away from Yigal Amir, who was inexplicably waiting for his target in a supposedly “sterile” area, reserved only for authorized security personnel.
After finishing with the crowd, Peres approaches Rabin’s car (6:20 minutes), which was parked behind his own in the sterile area. Peres stops by the car, and appears to look inside, or inspect the vehicle for something. Peres then starts talking with a body guard who points to the car. (As this occurs before the shots are fired, both the front and rear doors opposite the driver’s side are still open). What was it about the prime minister’s car that so interested Shimon Peres?
Then, suddenly, Peres is seen talking to Rabin’s driver, Menachem Damti (6:34 minutes). Prior to this, something apparently was cut out of video. Kempler claims he stopped filming for a few seconds.
Peres finally gets into his own car, just as Rabin walks down the stairs into the sterile area. Seconds later, he is shot at by Yigal Amir.
There are numerous other inconsistencies in the Kempler video and in the circumstances surrounding the assassination that provide powerful impetus to conspiracy theories. Citing even a small fraction of them here would be beyond the scope of this brief article. Readers are encouraged to investigate further and make their own judgments.
Aside from one television appearance on Channel 2 ten years ago, Kempler has been unavailable to answer questions regarding his video clip. His testimony as an eye witness at Amir’s trial failed to address many of these issues, some of which were raised by Amir’s defense attorneys. “I’m not a video or camera expert,” was a typical remark.
As history would have it, Kempler fortuitously stood on the roof of the Gan Ha-ir shopping mall overlooking the “sterile” area near the prime minister’s car where Yigal Amir was waiting to attack Yitzhak Rabin. Minutes before the assassination, Kempler, who claimed to be an amateur photographer, focused his camera on Amir for no apparent reason and followed his actions until he fired his pistol.
Conspiracy theorists explain this peculiar oddity of fate, contending that Kempler himself was a part of the conspiracy. They suggest that Israel’s secret service arranged the video and then tampered with it in various ways in order to convince a skeptical public that Yigal Amir was the lone assassin, and diffuse any attempts to prove otherwise.
While the video served as key evidence in obtaining Amir’s conviction and to underpin the Shamgar Commission’s lone assassin conclusion, it has ironically become home base for supporting conspiracy theories, like those put forward by Barry Chamish.
The fact that the video has been concealed from the public for the past ten years, along with Kempler’s cryptic absence from Israel’s all-penetrating media, only serves to heighten speculation regarding a potential cover-up in relation to the circumstances of the Rabin assassination.
With or without the Kempler video, the naked truth behind the administration that brought about the Oslo accords and the subsequent Oslo War will ultimately be exposed to public scrutiny and judgment.