Report of Internal GSS Committee on Rabin Assassination

Report of Internal GSS Committee on Rabin Assassination


 YITZHAK RABIN: 1922-1995
  Report of Internal GSS Committee on Rabin Assassination

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
Jerusalem, 8 November 1995

  1. Immediately after the events of last Saturday night (04.11.95), the General Security Service (GSS) began a thorough investigation into the events that were connected to the operation in all its stages. The Director of the GSS joined the investigation Sunday morning (05.11.95), upon his return from abroad. After the data were gathered, the Director decided to establish an external investigation committee which would expand the investigation and the inquiry into the circumstances.

  2. The members of the committee were three former GSS division heads, who had retired from the GSS approximately 10 years ago:

    • Uzi Berger - retired police major-general, previously served as head of the GSS Operations Division, head of Israel Police Intelligence Department and Investigations Division; committee chairman.

    • Savinoam Avivi - served as head of GSS Protection Division for 15 years.

    • Rafi Malka - served as head of GSS Operations Division, head of Administration Division, and head of Protection in Europe.

  3. This committee was asked in its letter of appointment to examine -- within the GSS only -- the following issues, and the responsibility of the chain of command for these issues, and to report back with its conclusions and recommendations at the earliest opportunity:

    1. an examination of the preparations for the operation,
    2. an examination of the intelligence for the event,
    3. the coordination of the intelligence with security inputs,
    4. coordination with the various elements that took part in the responsibility for providing security for the event: police, police anti-terror unit, Magen David Adom, hospital, event HQ, and others.
    5. the performance of the unit during the event while emphasizing its performance during the assassination itself and during the evacuation of the Prime Minister.

  4. These issues relate to the professional and operational performance of the GSS's VIP Protection Unit; the committee was asked to examine them insofar as they related to the event, its development, and its consequences.

  5. The committee worked continuously from Sunday, 05.11.95, and submitted its preliminary conclusions and recommendations. The committee was given full access to all the material that it requested; all elements connected to the event -- as well as everyone whom it requested -- appeared before it.

  6. The following is a summary of the conclusions reached by the committee, which were duly reported to the Director of the GSS:

    1. Planning failure: the committee points to a failure in planning in that a critical segment of the security operation for the event -- and the professionalism appropriate for its security -- was not taken into account.

    2. Operational failure: the planning failure led to an operational failure in the security of this same critical segment. During the event, the planning failure was discerned, and a number of directives were given to correct the deficiencies that remained in the critical segment. The directives were partial, were issued late; their implementation, as well, was not complete.

    3. As a result of the planning and security deficiencies, and mainly due to the failure to correct the holes, the murderer succeeded in approaching the Prime Minister to within a lethal distance.

    4. The committee found that the bodyguard who jumped on the murderer and did not fire at him, had exercised correct judgement, given the circumstances, a comparative run-through of firing a bullet, and field conditions. The committee commended the performance of the bodyguard, who was wounded during the event.

    5. The committee was not asked to examine -- and therefore did not relate to -- the performance of the police, and did not deal with issues related to the prevention of incitement, etc. as being relevant to the event.

    6. The committee pointed to the direct responsibility of three persons: the head of the Government Unit for VIP Protection, the head of the Operations Branch, and the commander for the event. The committee recommended that the Director of the GSS draw the necessary conclusions regarding those who were responsible for the failure and its occurence.

    7. The committee found that the head of the Protection Division bears responsibility for the system's poor functioning. The protection plan was presented to him; during his visit at the event, and during the event itself, he pinpointed a number of deficiencies, and ordered that they be corrected. The deficiencies were corrected late and incompletely.

  7. The committee's initial conclusions were sent to the the Director of the GSS and were accepted by him. The committee was asked to continue its work, in order to completely examine the relevant aspects of the incident and its tragic results, and to submit a full written report.

  8. The Director of the GSS decided to recommend to the Acting Prime Minister that the head of the Protection Division, the head of the Government VIP Protection Unit, the head of the unit's Operations Branch, and the commander for the event be suspended until all the examinations related to the tragic incident are completed, including a state commission of inquiry, should it be decided to establish one.

  9. The Director of the GSS met with the Acting Prime Minister and reported to him about the committee's conclusions and its decisions in the disciplinary sphere. The Acting Prime Minister approved the Director's decisions. Afterwards, the Director met with Mrs. Rabin and members of her family, and reported to them about the committee's work and its conclusions. The Director asked that the report's main findings be made known to the Government and to the public.

  10. On the night of 7.11.95, the Director of the GSS summoned the head of the Government Unit for VIP Protection (equivalent in rank to a colonel in the IDF), who approved the protection plan; the head of the unit's operations branch (equivalent in rank to a lieutenant colonel in the IDF), who oversaw the preparations and implementation of the plan in the field; and the commander at the event (equivalent in rank to a major in the IDF). The Director told them about the committee's report and its conclusions, and about his decision -- in light of the preliminary conclusions -- to suspend them immediately, until all the investigations are completed.

  11. The head of the GSS's Protection Division (equivalent in rank to a major-general in the IDF) was also summoned by the Director, was shown the committee's conclusions, and was informed of the Director's decision to suspend him immediately. The head of the Protection Division then asked to resign from the GSS; the Director accepted his resignation.

  12. The Director of the GSS decided on the severe personal conclusions in light of the committee's findings, despite the abovementioned officials' excellent records and their great contribution to the GSS over many years. To the great shock which has rocked the GSS in the wake of the failure to protect the Prime Minister's life, and the deep sorrow of the VIP Protection Unit bodyguards who were a part of Yitzhak Rabin's family, is now added the shock from the committee's conclusions, as well as the suspension of four GSS officials, including two very senior officials who have many complex and wide-scale operations to their credit, as well as knowledge and experience which will be hard to replace.

  13. During the night, other GSS officials were appointed to fill in for the officials who were suspended or who resigned, and appropriate measures were taken to ensure the GSS's operational capability, while implementing the lessons drawn by the committee.

  14. During the night, the Director of the GSS convened all of the unit's members and presented to them the committee's conclusions and the severe personal conclusions which he made in their wake. He discussed with them the unit's future and operational deployment in the circumstances which have been created, and noted the immediate, successful deployment in carrying out the largest protection operation ever in Israel, which had occurred over the previous 48 hours. The Director emphasized their obligation, and the GSS's obligation, to continue to defend the State of Israel, and its leaders and ministers, against Arab and Jewish terrorism, which continues to threaten Israel just as it did before the terrible night.

The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: 1922-1995
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