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Raviv Trial Tribulations

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For the eighth time since his April, 1999 indictment for failing to notify the authorities of Yigal Amir's intention to assassinate Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the trial of Avishai Raviv has been postponed, this time for six months. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the trial court ordered the postponement of the scheduled November 11 trial date pending a higher court decision on the defense's request to view highly classified prosecution materials. Raviv was an agent-provocateur employed by the Shin Bet to infiltrate right wing groups and was a mentor to Yigal Amir. Raviv is thus thought by some to have played more than a passive role in the Rabin slaying, and questions have been raised of a possible Shin Bet link to the slaying and an official cover-up.

Significantly, this latest delay has drawn criticism across the Israeli political spectrum. “It's not just the Right that is angered by this delay,” Knesset Law Committee Chairman Ophir Pines (Labor) said in an interview. He termed the latest delay, coming six years after the assassination, “insufferable.” Pines said there was no reason why the delay in the opening of the trial should be as long as half a year, and that if an additional delay were needed, several weeks or a month would suffice.

The Post reports that according to Pines, the case is both “embarrassing” and “problematic.” He said, “it is certain that very embarrassing details will be revealed in the trial” for the state, the Justice Ministry and the Shin Bet. “I would like to believe that this is not the reason [for the delays],” Pines said, “because if it is, then we are in a worrisome situation.”

According to the Post, some MK's from the Right have been saying for months that both the defense and the prosecution have been purposefully delaying the case.

“The defense does not want a conviction, and the prosecution is not interested in seeing the GSS's (Shin Bet) methods revealed in a trial,” said Likud MK Michael Eitan, a long-time critic of the state attorney's handling of the case.

“It is clear there are certain sources that do not want this trial to proceed,” MK Zevulun Orlev (NRP) is quoted as saying.

Given his political leanings and religious identification, Yigal Amir's murder of Prime Minister Rabin was seized by Labor and the Left generally as a convenient opportunity to launch a sustained assault on those who vigorously opposed the Oslo Accords, particularly the political Right and the religious community. These were accused of incitement and fomenting a dangerous political climate. We have always rejected the connection that was made and continue to believe that uncovering Raviv's role would shed important light on the tragic event. To our mind, the evidence that is already known points ineluctably to the conclusion that there was a lot more involved than some wild-eyed hothead targeting Mr. Rabin.

Unfortunately, it now appears that the prospect of the trial ever going forward is remote, and the latest postponement seems a prelude to some plea bargain being struck which will avoid the need for a public airing of the Shin Bet's dirty linen. So, because of an old boy's network that transcends political affiliation and office, we will probably never get to know what really happened. And the elitist Israeli Left will have once again prevailed against legitimate public dissent.

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