Rabin's bodyguard gets another chance with Sharon

The bodyguard who failed to protect Yitzhak Rabin from the assassin’s bullets has remained in the service and was recently promoted to head the protection detail of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The bodyguard has spent the past decade, since that fateful night, advancing in various tasks both in Israel and abroad. He is now responsible for the hefty task of protecting the prime minister and preparing for the protection of the major political leaders who visited this week for the Rabin commemoration ceremonies. Ten years ago, an inquiry into the assassination cleared the bodyguard of any culpability, even though he was a man who had been meticulously trained for those vital few seconds and failed. A former head of the protection unit Shlomo Harnoy said that, a year after Rabin’s assassination, his case was discussed. “It was decided there was no stain on him. It was also decided that from that moment the issue would no longer be raised,” Harnoy was quoted as saying. After Rabin’s assassination, the bodyguard collapsed mentally with feelings of failure. Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) sources confirmed the report, though the agency frowned on discussing personnel still in the service. It insisted that the person not be identified in any way. While classified persons in the security service are usually identified by the initial of their first name, this person was identified only as “the bodyguard.” The bodyguard is today 40 years old and grew up in Carmiel. He was a veteran paratrooper and, after the army, served as a sky marshal. He began working as a bodyguard in the Shin Bet in 1989. He married his army sweetheart and they have three children. Since the assassination neither he nor anyone in his family has ever granted an interview.