Rightist website marks anniversary of Rabin's murder - with a conspiracy theory contest
Arutz Sheva's Hebrew site promises to publish the 'most interesting' theory about the assassination of the prime minister in 1995.
The right-wing Arutz Sheva Hebrew-language website has launched a contest to mark the anniversary of the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin - promising to publish the "most interesting" theories contradicting the official version of the killing.
Rabin was shot to death by Yigal Amir on November 4, 1995, following a peace rally in Tel Aviv.
The "special project" includes an online form, on which entrants can set out their conspiracy theories in 9,000 characters or less.
"Ahead of the 15th anniversary [commemorations] of the murder," the pro-settlement site said, "we invite every single one of you who, in a hidden-away drawer, holds a theory that as far as he's concerned answers some, most, or all of the questions surrounding the Rabin assassination, to write it down, send it to us, and we'll publish the most interesting theories on one of the days close to the assassination anniversary, after stylistic editing by Arutz Sheva correspondent Shimon Cohen."
The breezy tone of the contest wording lies in stark contrast to the webpage, whose margins appear to be pierced by bullet holes.
"If you belong to that segment of the population which, in every social or family gathering feels a need to lay out his Rabin assassination theory for everyone," the text reads, "if again and again you argue with acquaintances and thus come in for jugs of ridicule and insults, and are again and again dubbed delusional, just imagining, provocating, living in a dream world and all the other forms of high praise, then it's just for you that we're designating Arutz Sheva's next project - 'Who Murdered Rabin - Your Theory.'"
The assassination has long been a source of bitter debate between the left and right in Israel. A government commission ruled that Amir, a right-wing law student, acted alone in gunning down Rabin after a Tel Aviv peace rally.
Many on the left have blamed the strident rightist opposition to Rabin's peace moves for fostering the atmosphere that led to Yigal Amir's killing of Rabin. Hardliners deny the linkage, and maintain that the left has been guilty of character assassination against the right as a whole.
Far-rightists have gone further, stating that Amir was innocent and setting out a range of conspiracy theories, some hinting at involvement by the Shin Bet, close Rabin aide Eitan Haber, and Rabin's successor, Shimon Peres.
In the past, Arutz Sheva has given voice to writers and columnists who championed Rabin conspiracy theories.
In 2007, Arutz Sheva news editor Hillel Fendel, detailing a number of theorists' contentions, wrote, "The question of whether it was Amir who murdered Rabin is still a matter of national debate. Nearly half of the religious public (46%), and well over a quarter (28%) of the public at large, believe that Amir was not the culprit."
"Even more striking is the finding that 14% of Israelis - and 38% of the religious public - believe that Amir should be immediately pardoned."