Friday, October 30, 2020

Recalling the Cemetery Swearing-In Ceremony Staged by Avishai Raviv

The website of Israel's Media Watch from when I was Director is down but seems at least this post about that infamous swearing-in ceremony staged by agent provocateur Avishai Raviv can still be found.

The following text appeared in IINS News Service, November 1997 / Cheshvan 5758. As a public service, we bring to your attention its content.

"Declassified Shamgar Report (*) on Avishai Raviv"
November 13, 1997 - 13 Cheshvan 5757
Special Report -092sr

The following is a translation of the recently declassified portion of the Shamgar Commission's report (*) into the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Chapter four (page 28) of the released material deals with Avishai Raviv. ********************************************************** 

Chapter IV - Avishai Raviv was connected to the security services (General Security Service (GSS/Shin-Bet)) since December 1987. Not only were criminal charges not filed against him, he was informed that criminal charges were pushed off. The response of his superiors was that his results outweighed damages from his actions, which for the most part were not active participation in lawbreaking but failure to report such illegal activities. GSS officials had no doubt that he would repeat his [illegal] actions.

Raviv was also involved in the 1990 campaign to erase road signs leading to Arab areas. He was involved with the establishment of the Zionist Fascist Youth organization and a key player in the establishment of the militant "Eyal" organization. The "Eyal" organization, in actuality, was only able to exist because Raviv and Israel's television stations publicized it.

1. In 1991, a racist letter sent to the Druze head of the Student Society of Tel-Aviv University was publicized by Israel TV.
2. Raviv assaulted Hadash (left-wing) MK Tamar Gozansky.
3. He incited a juvenile to attack Faisal Husseini. In connection with this attack, a false report was filed with Raviv's superiors.

[Not from the Shamgar Report] - Note: On September 21, 1995, Israel's government-run Channel One Television aired the swearing-in ceremony of Eyal members, who were seen holding a Bible and a handgun. This infamous TV footage created a national stir and increased the ongoing campaign to besmirch Israel's nationalistic (right-wing) camp.Staged Eyal ceremonyStaged Eyal swearing-in ceremony by GSS agent provocateur Avishai Raviv. Pictures published in newspaper Makor Rishon 31.10.97 (Many Thanks)..

The staged swearing with a Bible and a gun, in Mount Herzl cemetery !! (Thanks to Makor Rishon from 5.12.1997)

Staged Eyal ceremony by Avishai RavivPictures published in newspaper Makor Rishon 31.10.97 (Many Thanks).

Following the airing of the Eyal swearing-in ceremony, "Israel's Media Watch" sent a letter to Tzvi Lidar, the spokesman for Channel One Television. Media Watch asked if the TV Authority was certain the ceremony aired on TV was indeed, factual. The first response to the Media Watch letter stated that the question was unworthy of a response. Media Watch followed up with another letter, to which Lidar responded insisting the film footage was authentic, factual and worthy of being aired on national television. [end of note]

…[Shamgar Report Page continued- page 28] …Channel One Television aired the swearing in ceremony, which was obviously staged. Anyone who was present to see it had to have known it was a staged affair.

A7The following text appeared in Arutz 7 News Service, Friday, November 14, 1997 / Cheshvan 14, 5758. As a public service, we bring to your attention its content.

"Israel's Media Watch" has demanded that Israel Television director Yair Stern clarify whether he actually investigated its complaints regarding the staged swearing-in ceremony of Eyal members.

Israel Television broadcast the ceremony in a major item several weeks before the assassination. Media Watch then wrote to Israel Television spokesman Tzvi Lidar, asking him whether the authenticity of the event had been checked in advance, "because the broadcast gives the impression of being staged."

Lidar responded, "I don't know what your impression is based on." Media Watch wrote again, "Please answer whether the authenticity was investigated." This time, Lidar answered, "Yes, it was checked, and found to be factual and worthy of being broadcast."

As mentioned, Media Watch is waiting to hear whether the "check" was actually carried out. Media Watch later filed a complaint with the police against the television for broadcasting a staged event as authentic.

The State Attorney's Office has not yet decided whether to begin a criminal investigation, despite repeated inquiries into the matter by Media Watch.

The organization believes that the complaint will now be taken more seriously, in light of the Shamgar Commission (*) findings released yesterday. The findings state, "Raviv continued his connections with the media in order to present Eyal as an existing body, and he received the help of the television in that it broadcast the swearing-in ceremony; [this] was nothing more than a fake, which anyone who was there most certainly noticed." 

(*) The Shamgar Commission has investigated the assassination of former prime-minister of Israel Mr. Yitshak Rabin (za"l). Nowadays, (November 13, 1997 - 13 Cheshvan 5757) a declassified secret part of the commision report about Secret Service agent provocateur Avishai Raviv has been published. 
Israel's Media Watch is a non-partisan advocacy group concerned with the ethical and professional standards of the media in Israel.

...On November 2, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein prohibited publication of a summary of a meeting in the office of his predecessor Michael Ben-Yair. The summary, he claimed, would "endanger public security." Eleven days later, long after the document had been placed on the Internet, the Israeli Supreme Court removed its own gag order, issued at Rubinstein's request, and sharply reprimanded the Attorney-General for attempting to suppress a document that had no connection to public security.

A brief examination of Rubinstein's actions and the way the Israeli press covered the issue provides a good case study of the many of the themes we have been developing.

The document in question dealt with a complaint filed by Israel's Media Watch demanding that the Attorney-General bring criminal proceedings against Eitan Oren, the reporter who filmed the staged swearing-in ceremony of the Eyal organization (see p.8 above). According to the summary, the Attorney-General saw no alternative to prosecuting Oren. He is quoted as saying:

The episode shocked television viewers and caused enormous damage, a virtual public storm. I just don't see how we can avoid beginning [criminal] proceedings. . . . I don't see a problem with the evidence. I don't see any problems in terms of his criminal intent. It is impossible to close the case without public exposure.

Everyone else in the room – State Attorney Edna Arbel, senior prosecutors, and representatives of the GSS – expressed concern that Oren would call Avishai Raviv to the stand, and that the latter would reveal everything connected to his actions as an agent provocateur on behalf of the GSS.

Much of the discussion concerned what grounds could be given for closing the file: "lack of public interest" or "lack of evidence." The Jerusalem District Attorney argued that the latter ground would be easier to defend if the closure of the file reached the Supreme Court. The meeting ended with Attorney-General Ben-Yair washing his hands of the matter and leaving it up to the State Attorney.

The reason that the Israeli Right was so intent on revealing the document is clear. Since the Rabin assassination, the Right has continuously claimed that the GSS orchestrated a systematic campaign to delegitimize the opposition to Oslo by planting agent provocateurs in their midst to create the impression that the entire Right is composed of violent extremists. It was, for instance, GSS agent Avishai Raviv who held up the famous photomontage of Rabin in an SS uniform at an anti-Oslo rally, and who was Yigal Amir's closest confidant in the months leading up to the Rabin assassination. For the Right, then, the document seemed to show that the State Attorney's office was intent on avoiding public discussion of Raviv's activities and their implications.

Many leading lights in the legal system had their own reasons for not wanting the document released. According to one GSS official present, Dorit Beinisch, former State Attorney and today a justice on the Supreme Court, gave approval for Raviv to engage in activities which would incriminate someone else who would then be arrested.

Even Attorney-General Rubinstein had his reasons for not wanting the document public, though he was not present at the meeting in question. For three and a half years, the State Attorney's office pushed off inquiries from Israel's Media Watch as to why no complaint had been filed against Oren with the response that the matter was under investigation. The document showed that response to be a lie: The decision not to prosecute on the grounds of "lack of evidence"' was made already nearly four years ago, for reasons having nothing to do with a lack of evidence.

Anyone old enough to remember the Pentagon Papers might have expected the Israeli media to raise a hue and a cry for release of the suppressed document. Far from it. If anything, the media followed the lead of Amnon Avramovits, who attempted to pooh-pooh the document as revealing nothing new. Though the document was easily available on Internet and had surely been read by the vast majority of print and broadcast journalists, few showed any curiosity as to why the Attorney-General was so determined to prevent its publications or what made it so important.

The media completely failed to accurately report the reason for the meeting described in the banned document: the complaint of Israel's Media Watch to the Attorney-General over the role of IBA reporter Eitan Oren in the staged Eyal induction ceremony. A conspiracy of silence seemed to surround the activities of one of the brotherhood. No one asked why a reporter who played an integral role in the staged Eyal induction ceremony is still on the air.

Even after the Supreme Court allowed publication of the summary of the meeting, the media confined itself to score-keeping of winners and losers in the affair. The underlying issue of the government's use of agent provocateurs as a means of delegitimizing opposition groups, however, still remained largely undiscussed.

The media showed a studied indifference to a document containing information sure to raise uncomfortable issues. When Israel's Media Watch called a press conference prior to release of the meeting minutes, not one national paper or TV station sent a reporter, despite the presence at the press conference of Likud's rising star MK Dr. Yuval Steinitz and one of Israel's best known attorneys and the bombshell nature of the issue.

Steinitz was plainly stunned by the total boycott, and commented that the press conference reminded him of one called by Jewish refuseniks for the Soviet press under the Communists...


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