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Report: Late Bodyguard Left Opening For Rabin’s Assassin

November 28, 1995

JERUSALEM (AP) _ A seconds-long delay by the bodyguard assigned to cover Yitzhak Rabin’s back may have cost the prime minister his life, an Israeli newspaper reported Monday.

The Haaretz newspaper quoted officials of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, as saying the guard was supposed to have his back to Rabin while the prime minister got into his car, and to scan the area behind the prime minister.

But the guard was delayed for up to 10 seconds on the stairs leading from the terrace where the prime minister had appeared, leaving an opening that allowed the assassin to reach Rabin, Haaretz said.

There was no explanation for the guard’s delay.

Police detained for questioning Monday a recent immigrant from the United States on suspicion he was involved in Rabin’s assassination, Israel Radio reported.

The suspect, Boaz Silverberg, was a member of the Jewish Defense League in the United States before coming to Israel last year, reports said. The group was founded by the late Meir Kahane, a Brooklyn-born rabbi who called for deporting Arabs from Israel.

Now living in Jerusalem, the 42-year-old Silverberg has studied at a Kahane-affiliated West Bank seminary in the Beit El settlement, Channel 2 Television said. He was arrested last year, following a bus bombing by Islamic militants, for rioting and preventing Arab workers from entering the settlement, it said.

Israel TV said police planned to question 10 more rabbis in connection with Rabin’s murder.

Two rabbis who were questioned for eight hours Sunday were brought in for further questioning on Monday. One, Rabbi Shmuel Dvir, was released on bail, and the other, Rabbi David Kav, was released unconditionally, police said.

The rabbis are suspected of issuing religious rulings pronouncing Rabin a ``rodef,″ or persecutor, who should be punished by death because his policy of turning over land to the Palestinians led to terror attacks against Israelis.

Police suspect that Yigal Amir, an observant Jew and combat veteran, received a rabbi’s blessing before shooting the prime minister.

Rabbi Kav was the former rabbi at a yeshiva where Amir once studied.

``I knew him three, four years ago _ so what,″ he told reporters outside the police station. Rabbi Dvir denied sanctioning Rabin’s death or having any contact with Amir.

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