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Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

Adam Wilkinson

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Yitzhak Rabin was often described as a "hawk turned dove" in the bitter and long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He had sought peace, and was in favor of compromises which were seen as acts of betrayal in certain quarters (some sects within Judaism interpreted that it would be a sin and a betrayal to give up any land even in return for peace). On November 4, 1995, he was shot in the back whilst returning to his car from a peace rally in Tel Aviv, and died later on the operating table of Ichilov Hospital. Yigal Amir, often described as a Jewish extremist, was apprehended within minutes by other people in the crowd. He did not deny having pointed and fired a gun at Rabin from within the crowd.

It appeared that the matter was clear cut, and has been reported as such in the media. However, strong inconsistencies in the evidence have been alleged, both in the medical records, and in inquiry testimony.

Claims by those who assert there was more than one assassin:

Police reports state that powder was found on Rabin's body and clothing, proving conclusively he had been shot at point blank range (powder travels only inches before dispersing). Amir was in the crowd, not at a range capable of leaving powder traces.

Surgical notes describing a bullet wound which penetrated the front of the chest before impacting the spinal cord from inside, inconsistent with witness reports that Rabin was walking away with his back to Amir when Amir fired (later, video evidence would confirm that Amir did not shoot at Rabin from the front)

Video showing Rabin walking after Amir's shots in a manner inconsistent with gunshot, an impossibility if they shattered the vertebrae.

The bullet path for a shot by Amir was implausible

Each medical record describes wounds which are "completely different" in nature to those concluded by the official Shamgar Commission.

Medical descriptions of Rabin's condition are described by Chamish as suddenly appearing to change.

The view of Dr Guttman, a physician, that "[t]he first two wounds, to the chest and abdomen occurred before Rabin's arrival. The third, frontal chest wound, had to have been inflicted after he entered the hospital," and that "it is inconceivable that Rabin had no spinal damage. The six members of the operating team were too skilled to have all been wrong about that."

Anecdotal reports of hospital staff expressing doubts as to the circumstances of that night.

Amir fired one shot. But trauma from at least two, perhaps three separate shots were reported to his body.

Three police officers who had been present testified that "when Yitzhak Rabin was placed in the car, he showed no visible wounds." (Gordon Thomas in his book "Gideon's Spies" adds: "The surgeons insisted there was no possible gunshot wound that would have allowed Rabin to leave the attack site showing no evidence of a wound and arrive at the hospital with multiple damage ... subsequently the doctors have refused to discuss the matter.")

Rabin's car became "lost" for 22 minutes on a 45-second drive to hospital by a highly experienced chauffeur, on clear cordoned-off streets.

Police ballistics tests on shell casings found at the scene did not match Amir's gun.

Powder traces (almost inevitably present if the suspect has shot genuine bullets [not blanks] from a handgun) were not found on Amir's hands, clothing or hair.

No blood was seen coming from Rabin at the scene, despite wounds to his lung and spleen, nor was any found later at that location. (By contrast witnesses describe blood "gushing" from a chest wound upon arriving at hospital)

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