For decades, rumors have swirled surrounding the notorious pictures of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shown in the uniform of a Waffen SS officer. Who created the pictures, back in the day before such manipulation was so simple? Was it the Shabak, or settlers, or unnamed others with no affiliation to anyone, as an article in Haaretz claimed not too long ago?
According to Israeli journalist Berale Crombie, the answer is a composite of the various theories. The creator of the famous image was an "unnamed other" but the Shabak was very much involved in putting the photograph to "good use."
"Today, for the first time, I'm presenting the story of someone I'll only call 'S' who, back in 1994, was a yeshiva student from the north of Israel," Crombie wrote on Twitter on Monday. "It was S who created the famous poster of Rabin in an SS uniform, and I will also reveal the involvement of Shabak agent Avishai Raviv in publicizing this poster."
S maintained his silence for 27 years but now has chosen to speak out, while protecting his identity.
"When I was a teenager, I used to play around with photo montages all the time," he relates. "I would cut and paste photographs and create all kinds of pictures, not all of them on political themes. It was just a hobby of mine.
"I created the posters of Rabin myself," he continues. "I cut out, pasted, and then made seven copies on size A3 paper, and I took them with me to a demonstration at Kikar Zion. There I went over to Avishai [Raviv] and showed him one of the posters, and he was blown away. He was literally over the moon, and told me the posters were just amazing.
"Avishai took a few copies from me and ran over with them to the nearest media car where he gave them to Nitzan Chen. They made close-up photos of the posters, and that's what became the famous pictures everyone knows about. Later, he gave another copy to some of his people and they burned it - that's on video," he notes.
S adds that the police would have had no trouble identifying him as the source of the posters and that they could easily have detained him for questioning - but they preferred to let things run their course and allow people to form the impression that right-wing leaders were behind the incitement. "It was only after Avishai Raviv was exposed [as a Shabak agent provocateur] that they caught up with me, and I was arrested a week after his exposure. They could have found me beforehand, but they only decided to arrest me after Avishai Raviv was implicated in the photo, in order to stress that I'd created the posters, not him," S says.
According to Crombie, S is today a regular haredi Jew who has nothing to do with politics.