Monday, March 31, 2003

Avishai Raviv, former agent of the Shabak (Israeli General Security Service, called the Shin Bet, by foreigners, for some reason, historical I think), was acquitted today of charges of "of failing to prevent the assassination of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, despite knowing that Yigal Amir was plotting to kill him". According to Ynet (Hebrew), the judges said that Raviv had no clue as to what Yigal Amir was planning to do and had no motive to withold such information from his Shabak controllers.

I got bored with this affair years ago, but the Raviv case was a very high profile affair in Israel, with certain elements on the right pushing very hard for him to be brought to justice, and the Shabak opposing his indictment. Exposing an intelligence source, especially a live one, can be very harmful for any intelligence gathering organization. Putting a live source on trial is even worse.

Let me guess: Tomorrow the headline in Yediot Aharonot will probably be something ridiculously sensational, on the lines of - "Shampania Hofshi" (Champagne is free or Free Champagne). Champaign was Avishai Raviv's Shabak code name, ostensibly because of his expensive tastes.

I'm relieved with the outcome. This was a witch hunt. And it was dangerous for the Shabak and its ability to effectively gather intelligence.