Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.
On November 4, 1995, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at the end of a rally held in Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv.
This is the first time that the ISA’s close protection unit and other security forces, the Israel Police, faced a real adversary who tried and also managed to carry out his plot while crossing all the security rings that existed at the same event. Following the incident, the Shamgar Committee set up to investigate and understand what happened there. That evening, the committee’s conclusions were published in two parts – the public part and the secret part.
Despite the existence of the famous section, I guess that most if not all of you have not read it or part of it and have found it appropriate to draw information about the event from the media that published old and new details since the event and more precisely during the last 17 years.
I enlisted in the close protection unit in early 1992 and thus began my career as a governmental close protection specialist. This means that I went through the whole process, together with the unit, of the period before and after the murder, with all the meanings and changes that have been made since then to this day. On the eve of the incident, I secured a VIP while traveling to the United States so it turned out I was exposed to the murder in a report on CNN.
As an employee and as a close protection specialist, you realize that this is a difficult event, a failure, worst of all, and immediately afterward continues to work in the best way you know as always.
During the years after the murder, my unit members and I continued to work in accordance with the changes made as part of the lessons learned process created following the incident and based on the conclusions of the Shamgar Committee. As a matter of fact, and in retrospect I do not remember sitting to read the conclusions of the inquiry commission probably because I was exposed to them while continuing operational work.
Shortly after retiring from the service, I found myself ready and ripe to sit down and read the entire famous part of the Shamgar Committee. I worked for 20 years in the close protection unit as a close protection specialist, commander, and manager, and only after I left was, I exposed to all the details of that evening and to the entire process that Yigal Amir went through from the planning stage to the assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Today, as an expert in the field of security, I make sure to give the close protection specialists a lecture on the murder from the adversary’s perspective, specifically from the side of Yigal Amir, to emphasize what needs to be done to increase the chances of preventing the next assassination attempt.
In this article, I will expose you to the process of the formation of an assassin while attaching to facts only as published by the Commission of Inquiry and without being drawn into political opinions or all sorts of conspiracies published in the media, literature, and the internet.
I must note that while reading the material I often asked myself difficult questions that stemmed from anger and especially from a repeated sense of failure, but for a moment I did not think there were dark details that change the image known to me and the general public and immortalized in a video showing Yigal Amir shooting the prime minister.
The point in time when Yigal Amir, the prime minister, and the close protection unit began to move in three parallel axes is the end of the June 1992 elections in which the late Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister of Israel for the second time.
Yigal Amir was 22 at the time, after military service in the 13th Battalion in the Golani infantry regiment and before being accepted for bachelor’s degree studies at Bar Ilan University.
The close protection unit was established in 1958, following the grenade-throwing incident in the Knesset, which is once again organizing to secure the prime minister and the new ministers while continuing to work on the basis of security theory that believes close protection specialists will act resolutely and professionally against any adversary.
Israeli citizens, including Yigal Amir, watched the prime minister and his government work hard for a peace process with the Palestinians up to the signing of the Oslo Accords. The process included many meetings between leaders from both sides in Israel and abroad, and as it progressed, the “patrons” from around the world, the Americans and the Europeans, noted this, at the White House ceremonies and the Nobel Prize ceremony for the late Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Arafat.
As stated, the process began immediately with the formation of the Rabin government and when it became clear that it was becoming real, supporters and adversaries arose in Israel.
Like the process, adversaries began to take action against the prime minister and his government, initially using legitimate statements, later publishing their views in the media and press until beginning in 1995 they took to the streets shouting, displaying extremist signs, blocking roads, and damaging ministerial vehicles. In Jerusalem with the participation of thousands and MKs from the right-wing party.
Attached is a video of the big demonstration in Zion Square in Jerusalem:
Yigal Amir began studying law at Bar Ilan University in 1993. During this time, he still lived at his parents’ house in Herzliya.
Legal Amir had a Beretta pistol with a license. His university friends described him as initiating meetings inside and outside the university. In these meetings, they heard him express himself praising Baruch Goldstein who carried out the massacre in the Cave of the Patriarchs, praising the rabbis’ words about making a “din rodef” [the “din rodef” (“law of the pursuer”), is one of the few provisions in traditional Jewish law permitting extrajudicial killings] ruling regarding the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and some claimed to hear him say Rabin should be assassinated. Yigal Amir strongly opposed the peace process.
During his interrogation, after the murder, Yigal Amir said the following main things:
It took me a long time, about three years, to decide to try to assassinate the prime minister.
I oppose the peace process with the Palestinians and see Arafat as a murderer who should not be talked to or met with.
Without faith in religion, I am not sure I had the power to commit the murder.
Without support, apparently referring to his brother and close friends, not sure I would have been able to take action.
I do not understand how Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres can stand on the same stage together with Arafat the killer at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo.
The media completely ignored the right-wing bloc in Israel.
Rabin brainwashes the citizens of Israel and calls on the soldiers and civilians who were killed as victims of peace.
I know that there are many other adversaries in the nation like me and I will do the necessary thing to stop the process on their behalf.
I heard the rabbis authorizing “din rodef” and Pulsa Denora [in Aramaic, this means the lashes of fire, and in modern usage, this is an invocation of a curse on someone] on Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Yigal Amir decided to try to assassinate Rabin with his personal pistol that was in his possession.
Before the incident in the square, Yigal Amir arrived with his pistol at two different incidents in which he decided to retrace his steps because of the security around the prime minister.
The close protection unit experienced the change in the public atmosphere every day that its close protection specialists went out on security missions in the field. As the intensity of the events increased, as protesters dared to take extreme action, the unit and the ISA’s leaders would increase security around the prime minister and ministers but did not decide to change the security system.
Two weeks before the incident in the square, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Wingate, a right-wing man burst towards him and reached a short distance from him and stopped at the line of close protection specialists that went around Rabin.
Following the unusual events seen at the time, this incident was also considered very unusual but has not yet led the unit to change the security method.
One week later, the close protection unit and the police were notified of the demonstration in support of the Prime Minister and the peace process on the evening of Saturday, November 4, 1995, in Kings of Israel Square.
Both agencies began planning the security arrangements for an event that was considered to grow by any standard known until then. The operation is considered large and complex. It was decided that the audience at the event will stand in the plaza in front of the balcony of the City Hall, the Prime Minister and the ministers will stand on the balcony that will be defined as an enclosed area for guests only and the northern parking lot (between the City Hall and the city center) will serve as a point of arrival and departure.
The rally began as planned on Saturday, November 4, 1995, when tens of thousands of people came to support the prime minister and the peace process.
Yigal Amir again decided to try to assassinate the prime minister, this time in a demonstration in support at Tel Aviv. In the evening, Yigal Amir went as usual to evening prayer in the synagogue in Herzliya, at the end of which he returned to his parents’ house to get ready to leave.
Yigal Amir dressed in jeans and a T-shirt to look like a leftist and to adapt to the participants in the demonstration.
He loaded the pistol magazine with bullets, making sure it was in order and inserted it into the Beretta pistol in his possession. He put the pistol on the right side and took out his T-shirt so that the pistol could not be seen clearly.
Yigal Amir chose to get to Tel Aviv by bus in order not to get involved with a private car, and indeed after he finished getting organized, he got on the bus and set off for Tel Aviv. It should be noted that during the bus ride he left the kipa on his head.
Yigal Amir got off the bus on Ibn Gvirol Street, at a station located north of Kings of Israel Square, and a moment before he started walking, he took off his kipa to remove any sign of being on the right that did not belong to the left-wing demonstration.
At this point, I would like to point out that Yigal Amir’s only plan at this stage was to assassinate the Prime Minister with the help of his personal pistol. At this point, he still did not know how to do it, from where and when.
Yigal Amir started walking on Ibn Gvirol in a southerly direction, turned right onto Hadassah Street, turned left onto “Malkei Israel” Street, and when he reached the western entrance to the northern parking lot, he stopped. He saw police officers standing at the entrance to the parking lot checking vehicles that wanted to enter but were not checking pedestrians.
Yigal Amir continued to walk south on “Malkei Yisrael”, turned left onto Frishman Street, turned left onto Ibn Gvirol, and walked north until he reached the eastern entrance of the northern parking lot. He stood among all the people who were at the place, looked in the direction of the northern parking lot, and recognized the prime minister’s vehicles and the ministers standing and waiting for the event to end. Yigal understood that at the end of the event, the prime minister would get off the balcony of his car and leave the place. At this point, Yigal Amir decided to stay in his place and as soon as he saw the prime minister, he would pull out his pistol and fire at him in order to hit him.
While waiting, he identified a friend from the university who knows him and his views and knows that he does not belong to the left-wing demonstration. Yigal did not want the friend to recognize him, so he decided to change his plan. He descended quickly on Ibn Gvirol, turned right under the city hall’s balcony, turned right on “Malkei Israel” until he reached the western entrance of the northern parking lot again. Yigal Amir remembered that the police at the entrance did not check pedestrians and therefore entered the parking lot without checking and without interruption. Picture of the northern parking lot:
He identified vehicles parked next to the walls that border the parking lot and considered moving forward while hiding and skipping from vehicle to vehicle.
Eventually, he decided to walk in the middle of the parking lot because he thought that if he hid someone could identify him as an anomalous person.
Yigal Amir walked like anybody else in the middle of the parking lot and reached the area of the stairs coming down from the balcony. He identified the car of the prime minister and ministers. He identified close protection specialists, police officers, border police officers, and various people. He looked around and saw a shuttle vehicle behind him. This is the moment when Yigal Amir decided to make himself a driver so that everyone who looked at him would think he belonged to the shuttle vehicle. He walked back and leaned on the back of the vehicle. composition of the front identified a round stone planter.
During his interrogation, Yigal Amir said that if anyone had approached him at this stage, he would have stepped back and returned to his home.
He advanced forward and sat down on the planter while being a very short distance from the close protection specialist who was in charge of the sector and the policemen who were at the scene. He clearly saw the path of the Prime Minister’s descent from the balcony to the car.
Singer Aviv Geffen came to go up to the balcony and sing the song ‘’To cry for you friend’’, girls started screaming with excitement, Yigal Amir took advantage of the commotion to contact a police officer standing next to him and started talking to him briefly about the singer. He dared to do so to further convince the environment that he was driving the shuttle vehicle. The police officer did not suspect anything and spoke to Yigal Amir.
Shortly afterward, Yigal Amir recognized that ministers were beginning to descend from the balcony – Ora Namir, Shitrit, and Yossi Sarid, and realized that the event was about to end. He decided t’s time for him to release the safety on the pistol. He decides not to do this little action near the planter and so goes two steps back, in the direction of the shuttle vehicle, where he releases the safety and makes the pistol ready for immediate firing.
He then returns to sit on the planter. Suddenly two media people sit next to him. Yigal Amir decides that he is not interested in having a conversation with them in order not to arouse their suspicion, so he gets up and walks in the direction of the shuttle again. That he recognizes that the two are leaving he returns to sit on the planter. (Note, I am reminding you that all his movements are performed at distances of 2 meters.) At a certain point, a police officer turns to Yigal Amir and asks him if another person who is next to him is also a driver. Yigal Amir replies that this is probably a driver from another company. The police officer continues his work. Yigal Amir now clearly understands that he is considered a shuttle driver just as he wanted it to be.
He continues to sit. The close protection specialists and the police decided that there were too many people on the VIP walking route, so they asked all the people who did not belong to the event to leave the area and go to stand on the sidewalk of Ibn Gvirol Street. Yigal Amir listened carefully to the instructions of the close protection specialists and the police and decided to stay in his place. He continues to sit on the planter.
At this point, one of the functionaries at the event, not a close protection specialist, recognizes Yigal Amir and decides that he does not belong and therefore asks one of the policemen to approach him and take him out of the plaza like the rest of the audience. The police officer does move in the direction of Yigal Amir, but in practice gets confused and turns to another person. The police officer then returns to the official. The above recognizes that the police officer was confused and sends him again to get Yigal Amir out of the place. This time the police officer does come to Yigal Amir but because he thought he was driving the shuttle, he asked him to get up from the planter and go stand next to the vehicle. The police officer continued his work. Yigal Amir waited two minutes, after they passed, he returned to stand near the planter.
He hears and recognizes that Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is going downstairs. He is a short distance from him and thinks that if he wanted, he could shoot him. Yigal Amir does not change his plan! He is confident enough that tonight he will be able to carry out the task! To assassinate the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Shimon Peres finishes talking to the audience and leaves in the direction of his car. The SWAT police officers, who were standing next to Yigal Amir at the time, suddenly left to escort Peres out of the parking lot and the incident.
Yigal Amir continues to stand next to the planter, his pistol ready to fire on the right side under the shirt. He looks to the right and recognizes Yitzhak Rabin, surrounded by close protection specialists, descending the stairs toward his car parked on Amir’s left. He accompanies the movement of the prime minister and the close protection specialists from his place. The group narrows the range to where Yigal Amir stands. The two front guards pass him. Immediately afterward the prime minister and the attached close protection specialists pass him by. He lets the close protection specialist who goes behind and to the right of the prime minister (on the opposite side of Amir’s position) pass him slightly and at that moment starts moving forward while extending his right hand to pull out the pistol, enters between a journalist and the rear close protection specialist, recognizes the prime minister’s back, straightens his hand with the pistol and shoots three Bullets from a distance of about 30 cm. Yigal Amir identified with certainty that he was hitting the prime minister’s back.
The prime minister feels hurt and turns back and forth to try and see who shot him:
The close protection specialist who went behind jumped towards Yigal Amir and managed to knock him to the ground. Yigal Amir dropped his pistol to the floor. At the same time, a number of SWAT police officers jumped on Amir.
The close protection specialists next to the prime minister rescued him in a vehicle that immediately began traveling to Ichilov Hospital.
Some of Yigal Amir’s actions were filmed by a citizen. This is what it looks like (the background noise is the result of an amateur video):
After the doctors determined that Yitzhak Rabin could not be saved, it was clear that one adversary named Yigal Amir managed to overcome all security circles in the incident and assassinated the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
We, the members of the close protection unit, have failed twice – we have not been able to prevent and thwart an attack on the prime minister and we have not neutralized the adversary by firing as required of us in combat situations.
This is not a conspiracy; this is a failure. A failure created following a collection of facts that happened in the period before and during the event up to the critical point where Yigal Amir carried out the shooting.
This is a failure of the defending side who was unable to identify in advance a person who does not belong to the place and did not succeed in the counter-reaction as soon as it decided to act.
The adversary, in this case, Yigal Amir, was smart, believing, enterprising, determined, and calm enough to understand that that evening all the conditions that allowed him to carry out his plot were met.
The price of failure insecurity is high and unequivocal! t’s cruel and it hurts! Precisely because of this security must continue to exist!