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8 Kislev 5760 - November 17, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Excerpts from The "Classified" Document

Following is a private English translation of the Israeli Government document that was forbidden for publication in Israel until it was ordered released by the High Court late last week.

This Ministry of Justice document, number 2976/96, is dated June 16, 1996. The document refers to file 403.

Summary of a Meeting on the Swearing-In Ceremony of the Eyal Organization.

Meeting Date: May 2, 1996

In attendance: 1. Attorney-General Michael Ben-Yair; 2. Noam Solberg -- Senior Assistant to the Attorney-General; 3. Edna Arbel -- State Prosecutor; 4. Talia Sasson -- Head of the anti-incitement unit of the State Attorney's office; 5. N. Ben-Or -- Head of the Criminal Division in the State Attorney's Office; 6. Leora Chavilio, Senior Assistant in the Jerusalem District Attorney's office; 7. K. B. and E. of GSS; 10. Ledor, Jerusalem District Attorney

Synopsis of deliberations on evidence 133/95 The swearing-in ceremony of the Eyal Organization, a document from March 29, 1996 from Leora Chavilio; the summary report of the Eyal swearing-in ceremony; document from February 5, 1996 from Y. Rodman

Attorney-General: We have all seen the videotape. Anyone who was there, on location, would have understood that this was not an authentic ceremony. Even the Shamgar Commission explicitly noted this in its report.

L. Chavilio: I didn't notice that the inauthentic sections were intentionally edited out of the video. I see a problem with issuing an indictment against the reporter.

A-G: Perhaps some disciplinary action can be taken against him?

C. K.: We are talking here about the handling of a problematic agent. The loss-benefit evaluation looks like this: He served as our agent for 8-9 years. Within this time period, he generally worked well, except for the last year. He transmitted thousands of pieces of information to us . . . During the last year, he lost control, and we were able to nip the problem in the bud. He underwent an initial investigation, and admitted [to his actions]. We continued to employ him. As for the story of the videotape [of the staged Eyal swearing-in ceremony] -- from our perspective, this is a most serious episode. Our officials deliberated on the matter, and decided that he was out of control and that it was impossible to permit him to continue operating . . .

But we established new rules of operation... and that he would undergo psychological examinations. It was made quite clear to him that we wouldn't continue along the same path, and that he would not receive immunity for crimes he committed. In hindsight now, if we had gone ahead and broken off our ties with him -- maybe he would have given us the murderer [of Yitzchak Rabin].

A court case against him would essentially be a case against the General Security Services (GSS). We would have to reveal all of our rules operation, something that would cause serious operational damage. We have to remember that our opponents pose some serious threats today. During a trial, everything would come out into the open.

I don't remember any trial against a GSS agent that was conducted behind closed doors. Great damage could be caused -- revelation of operational strategies, etc.

N. Ben-Or: The attorney who represented Avishai Raviv will have a strong ideological bias, and it is possible that he would join forces with extremist elements, and that together, they would reveal secrets.

T. Sasson: They would do everything they could to reveal secrets.

G. B.: As far as his criminal intentions are concerned: Did he intend to commit a crime? They suspected that Raviv was a GSS collaborator and he had to prove himself [to right-wing activists] He had to remove all their suspicions that he was an agent. Dorit Beinish gave approval for his activities next to Bar-Ilan University, to incriminate someone else who would then be caught. He had to protect himself. Any Defense Attorney will call Raviv to the witness stand.

E. E: Raviv was part of a violent group -- the fact is that they suspected him of being a GSS collaborator. He had to, at all times, prove that he was as "active" as them!

Ledor: We have to close the file "due to lack of public interest." An indictment [against Raviv] could seriously harm the GSS. We have to accept the GSS opinion on this. We close a lot of files in this manner, due to a "lack of public interest." The harm is clear -- the trial would look crooked. Holding it "behind closed doors" just won't help.

Ben-Or: I am bothered by the criminal aspect of this -- I am not sure that it won't end in a finding of "not guilty." Then we will be in a strange situation. This person was working in a problematic situation. His involvement in Eyal was illegal. They didn't allow him to bring television cameras. A police agent who is commissioned to buy drugs is not allowed to smoke them himself, etc. When you're in the trenches, though, it's difficult, and sometimes [an agent] will "permit himself" to break a law. Maybe he will argue the defense of "necessity," maybe the justification that he had to "earn the trust of those around him." I don't want to make a decision about his criminal culpability.

A-G: We see this as a serious matter. I don't dismiss the damage to the organization [the GSS]. Even the revelation of his code name caused great damage. But the additional damage is relatively insignificant, and we can make an effort to minimize it. It is possible to conduct proceedings behind closed doors. The case itself is very serious and there is a real public interest in filing criminal charges. This episode shocked television viewers and caused enormous damage, a virtual public storm! I just don't see how we can avoid beginning [criminal] proceedings.

B. : Another factor [that must be considered]: The GSS ability to hire agents, and the organization's handling of already existing agents. Our sources demand that the Service ensure that they will not be revealed. It will be hard [if Raviv goes to trial] to handle present agents and hire new ones.

A-G: Sec.(b)(1); The whole trial will take place behind closed doors. The Shamgar Commission was also held behind closed doors. It is possible.

Sasson: Let's assume that there is evidence. The television clip made an impression on me. We see from K's words what kind of damage [such a trial] would cause to the GSS. I must work with the assumption that there would be such damage. We have to weigh the benefits [of bringing him to trial] against the losses. It has to be evaluated in cold [objective] terms.

E. Arbel: From the perspective of the Attorney-General and the State Attorney's office: It is impossible to evaluate the evidence when we know that what is available there does not give an accurate portrait of what went on. The man was an agent. We don't know what the true picture was at the time. We can't know the clear details of the situation until he gets up on the witness stand, and maybe he will say that he was operating according to the directions of the GSS. It is impossible to say whether there is or is not evidence against him. The file [swearing-in] was staged. The lines were not clearly demarcated for Avishai Raviv. What would have happened if he would have prevented the murder? With all the difficulties that this [decision] entails, I am not sure that we can accomplish our goal. With a heavy heart, I suggest we close the file [against him].

A-G: Section 4(a) -- 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.

Ledor: Some time ago, we put together a format that we could use for a situation in which we announce that a file is being closed.

Arbel: It is simpler to defend the closing of a file due to a lack of evidence; it is possible that he [Raviv] wanted to convince them that he was "one of them." I see a problem with this. And if there is a problem with the evidence, it is easier to explain things [to the public]. I don't have to wait and come to the Court for it to say all this. My desire is to issue an indictment, but the risk is so big. We can in fact explain this to the Supreme Court; it's possible to defend [such an approach].

E. E.: In actual fact, during the entire time that Raviv served as an agent for us, there were many "incidents." He could very well testify about the [numerous] cases in which we gave him directions. The entire story of his service will be revealed, and there will be legal difficulties. Even after the [Eyal] television broadcast, they continued to employ him.

Sasson: A "lack of evidence" and a "lack of public interest" together constitute good reasons [for closing the file]

A-G: I don't want to be involved in closing the file. I won't get into explaining. In any case, we have to send a letter to the Israel Broadcast Authority in which we express our bad feelings at the video clip [the swearing in ceremony of Eyal]. We have to write something against [TV reporter] Eitan Oren. I can't be involved in this. Were I to be the only one to decide, I would issue an indictment. But, as I said, I don't want to be involved in this. I would like to request that the issue be transferred over to the State Attorney's office, that the State Attorney's office make a decision on this, and issue a statement to the plaintiffs.

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