Netanyahu Taps Rabin Conspiracist for Top Communication Ministry Post

Shlomo Filber, who ran Likud campaign and served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff, claims he didn’t write article claiming Shin Bet murdered Rabin.

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The slain Israeli Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin. Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

Shlomo Filber, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s candidate for the position of director general of the Communications Ministry, published an article a month after the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 raising the possibility that it was the result of an accident caused by the Shin Bet security service.

Filber said that even though the article bears his name, he did not write it, and the real author was the late journalist Uri Elitzur.

Yesterday morning, the Yedioth Aharonoth’s business paper Calcalist reported on the article in Filber’s name, which was originally published in the monthly magazine Nekuda put out by the Amana settlement movement.

In the article, Filber, then a law student, posed 11 questions about the murder. Among them, why the Shin Bet did not arrest the murderer, Yigal Amir, if they received prior warning that he intended to murder Rabin; why a police officer told reporters after the murder that Amir fired blanks; and why Amir was not shot by Rabin’s bodyguards.

“The blank bullets theory is serious,” wrote Filber. “It provides a shocking but logical answer to most of the questions and surprises surrounding the prime minister’s murder. ... It says the murder was really a ‘work accident’ of the Shin Bet ... It assumes the Shin Bet knew everything in advance: Who was the assassin, when the assignation would occur, and where.”

“The plan was to plant in his pistol, without his knowledge, blank bullets, and to allow him to reach just up to the point of action, to open fire, and then to be caught red handed,” stated the article. “The entire country is whispering about the theory of blanks .. only the press is silent ... [The media] says that a ‘serious journalist’ does not touch such materials. ... We took it on ourselves to put in writing the theory. ... These are not proven facts but certainly not crazy fantasies.”

Filber served for the past few months as the campaign manager for Likud in the recent elections. He is Netanyahu’s choice to replace Avi Berger, who Netanyahu fired as his first act in the Communication Ministry. Filber is a former head of the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements, and served as the head of the Prime Minister’s Bureau during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, as well as his bureau head when Netanyahu served as finance minister in Ariel Sharon’s government. Filber is a very well known figure among Likud activists. His name has been mentioned a number of times in recent years as Netanyahu’s candidate for a number of senior government posts, including head of the Government Companies Authority and cabinet secretary.

The gun that killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, at the State Archives in Jerusalem.Credit: Michal Fattal

Filber told Calcalist, “I do not believe and I did not believe then, either, in the conspiracy theory. Yigal Amir murdered Yitzhak Rabin because of various failures of the Shin Bet which were investigated. In the atmosphere of public incitement created in the weeks after murder and the collective accusations toward all of the supporters of the right and the settlers of Judea and Samaria in particular, and after rumors began to be reported on the operation of an agent instigator among the settlers by the Shin Bet (Avishai “Champagne” Raviv), the editor of Nekuda at the time Uri Elitzur decided to publish the article.”

Elitzur, who died of cancer last year, was at the time the editor of the magazine, Nekuda, that published the article. He later served as the editor in chief of the Makor Rishon newspaper and served for a period as Netanyahu’s chief of staff.

Filber said that Elitzur, who was also a member of the Yesha Council, asked him – then a junior employee of the council – if he would sign the article in his name because Elitzur feared it would hurt his standing as a journalist. “Out of respect for Uri and a desire to help in repelling the campaign of incitement against the settlers I agreed at the time to sign in his place. Even Uri himself, to the best of my knowledge, did not believe in the conspiracy theory,” said Filber. “Twenty years later, looking back, I think that today I would refuse to sign the article.”