by Barry Chamish [email protected]
THE SAD SAGA OF SARAH SHWARTZ
Saturday, 13 October 2001
(In our last episode, the author receives over 1000 documents about the Rabin murder and releases two of them: police tests of Yigal Amir's hands showing no gunpowder traces, thus proving he did not shoot the fatal bullets into Rabin. Within days of the release of the proofs, the author and his family are subjected to a wave of harassment and threats. In a probably futile gesture of appeasement, the author agrees to get rid of the new documents and transfers them to his researcher Yechiel Mann, who will open a web site and release the proofs with both Hebrew and English explanations.
And what evidence there is within! Mann and the author met this week and read over 600 of the 1000 pages. Mann found Amir's bank accounts and a money trail that appears to end at the top. He discovered Amir's phone records and a series of calls to Germany the week before the assassination. He discovered the government's incredibly clumsy attempt to neutralize the tests on Amir's hands. And more and more and more. But the author made a discovery of his own and it falls outside his boundary of no release of new hard evidence. Yechiel can have all the juicy stuff to himself but the author laid to claim to the following gem).
THE SAD SAGA OF SARAH SHWARTZ
On the night of the Rabin assassination, the police raided "assassin" Yigal Amir's house and found no weapons. This could not be permitted, so two days later the Shabak conducted their own raid and found a veritable armory, which they claimed belonged to Yigal's brother Hagai. Now they could explain where Yigal got his gun and ammo; from little brother's stockpile.
The Hagai armory was photographed and released to the press. Many noticed that among the stock there was an IDF - issued M-16 and lots of IDF ammo. How, many asked, did Hagai acquire army equipment?
The Shabak sprung into action and came up with a plan. They looked in their registry of young men opposed to the peace process and found Sargent Arik Shwartz, who was in charge of an armory in a small IDF base. He would be the source of Hagai's army weapons, whether he was or not.
What caught the author's eye was the sheer volume of documents related to the framing of Sgt. Shwartz. While Mann and his co-researcher saw little reason to pore over so many pages related to such an obscure side issue, the author saw great drama emerging from the Shabak's Humor And Absurdity Branch. The following tale comes right from the records of Israel Police.
The Shabak hands the police an order to raid Arik Shwartz's home based on their claim that he had stolen IDF weaponry, sold it to Hagai Amir and one of his bullets may even have murdered the prime minister.
The police are despatched to the home of Sgt. Arik Shvartz but he isn't in, he's at his base. But his 61 year old mother Sarah Shwartz is in, opens the door and a squad of police barge into her home. The commander barks at her, "Okay, where does he keep his weapons?" Sarah replies, "Who keeps what?"
"The weapons Arik stole from the army. Where are they?" "Arik took his weapon back to the base." "No, the rest of them. The ones he gives out to his assassin pals." "He's never brought anything like that home. He's a wonderful boy."Sarah refuses to allow her house to be searched but her husband Dr. Nafatali Shwartz, yes, the well-known dentist, acquiesces and the police turn the house upside down. In the end, they find one used grenade pin and handle, a souvenir of army training.
Behind the scenes and unreported, the police must have expressed their pique to the Shabak for sending them on a wild goose chase. The men of the Shabak's Humor And Absurdity Division spring back into action. They return to the Shwartz home in Ramat Gan and only Sarah is home this time. We don't know which threats were used on her but she did agree to go to the police and admit that she gathered all of Arik's weapons, put them in a suitcase and threw it into the Mediterranean Sea. Here is her testimony to the police.
"On the night of the Rabin assassination my son Arik called from his base and said there could be trouble if I didn't do him a little favor. He asked me to pack all his weapons and get rid of them where no one would find them. I found his weapons sitting in a carton and I packed them into a suitcase. Then I took a bus to look for a good spot to dump the suitcase. I got off near the Dolphinarium Disco and took a trail behind it to the sea. I climbed onto a rock outcrop and threw the suitcase into the sea. This I declare is the truth."The police were hardly convinced. They asked her what was in the suitcase and she replied,"Rifles, bullets, grenades, that sort of thing." To which the police insisted that the suitcase would weigh 75 kilograms. That, they decided was too heavy for frail, 61 year old Sarah to lift onto the bus, let alone throw far enough into the sea that no one would detect its presence in the water. They sent her home. We do not know how the police chided the Shabak for again wasting their time but the Humor And Absurdity Brigade was back in action, once again visiting Sarah Shwartz. They ordered her to find a co-conspirator, a strong young man who could have conceivably thrown the suitcase in the sea. She phoned her nephew, seventeen year old Moshe Khakham (pronounce KH like the end of Bach) of Bnei Brak and asked him to do her a teeny little favor.
One can only imagine his enthusiastic response; "Sure I'll help you destroy vital evidence connected to the biggest murder in the country's history! I like the idea of spending fifteen years in prison for you." Sarah and Moshe tramp down to the police station and once again confess. Moshe gives the following testimony.
"On the night of the Rabin assassination, my aunt Sarah phoned me to request a small favor. She asked if I wouldn't mind picking up a suitcase of hers and throwing it into the sea. I went to her place, rang the bell and waited until she came down. She was walking the dog and carrying a suitcase. She didn't tell me what was in it. But she asked me to take a ride in my car and throw it into the sea. I saw a trail behind the Dolphinarium which led to a rock outcropping. I stood on it and threw the suitcase fifty meters into the sea. This I declare this to be the truth." Here comes the drama. The police don't believe that Sarah carried the suitcase down to his car but they especially don't believe that Moshe could throw 75 kilos fifty meters.
Moshe explained, "It was stormy that night. I threw it only a few meters, then watched as the waves carried it fifty meters out." The police react, "Then the suitcase floated?" "For a little while, just long enough for the waves to take it fifty meters out." "And how long does a suitcase full of steel float?" "Longer than you'd expect. Look, can I talk to my aunt?" Sarah is brought into the room. She looks at Moshe and says, "You told them, didn't you?" He replies, "They made me."
This show over, the police ask Sarah a simple question. How did she know about the trail behind the Dolphinarium and the rock outcropping if she wasn't there? Now, I guess in hindsight she would have preferred to say, "I asked Moshe where he threw it and he drew a map for me," but she was stunned by the question and couldn't answer it.
The police tell Sarah and Moshe to get lost and once again we can only imagine what they told the Shabak. But nothing deters the Humor And Absurdity Battalion. They visited Sarah Shwartz again and the next day she was back at the police station. This time her testimony was:
"After Moshe came back without the suitcase, I became curious where he had thrown it. So I asked him to drive back with me to the exact spot. We got out near the Dolphinarium, crossed a trail behind it and climbed onto a rock out cropping. Then he pointed to the left and said, 'I threw it over there.'"This Sarah declared to be the truth. Now why was the author so entranced by the sad saga of Sarah Shwartz? Because it showed just how panicky and irrational the Shabak were in the days after the Rabin murder. The plan did not go off as anticipated and a brand new conspiracy had to be built almost from scratch. If Yigal Amir had access to IDF ammo, which they were now saying Hagai prepared for him to murder Rabin, then a source for the ammo had to be found. They viewed this as crucial to their coverup. They started with Sgt. Arik Shwartz and by George, he was going to be their culprit no matter what. At this point in the drama, the tempo picks up. The police are worn down and finally accept Sarah's sworn testimony. At one in the morning, a team of police frogmen and their hi-tech night vision equipment, assemble on a beach opposite the Dolphinarium. It turns out the water Moshe Khakham had tossed the suitcase into was too shallow to swim in, so the frogmen first formed a line to feel for the suitcase with their feet. Only after nearing the magic fifty meter offshore mark, did any swimming underwater take place. But alas, no suitcase was found.
However, since a compact suitcase weighing at least 75 kilos could not have drifted far or anywhere, the frogmen reassembled at 6:45 in the morning to finally track down the proof that Hagai Amir supplied army issue ammo to his assassin brother Yigal from Arik Shwartz's considerable, stolen weapons cache.
But the suitcase just wasn't there. This time the police were hopping mad. At the next interrogation they invited Sgt. Arik Shwartz to testify with his mother. Enjoy the next scene as inscribed in the police records:
Arik Shwartz:...And then I asked my mother, if she wouldn't mind, to collect all my stolen weaponry and throw them in the sea where no one would find them. Sarah Shwartz: Enough lies! Arik Shwartz: Mom, no! Sarah Shwartz: Maybe if we tell the truth, we can get Moshe out of jail.It was all too much for Sarah, she cracked. She couldn't go on. The last straw for her was when they arrested and jailed her teenage nephew on suspicion of destroying evidence vital to the investigation of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. Through circumstances she could not possibly have understood, she managed to get her nephew to face up to fifteen years in prison. She couldn't do the same thing to her son. Sarah had had enough of the threats and lies and said so. Which is why the sad saga of Sarah Shwartz was never mentioned in the Shamgar Commission findings or the protocols of either Hagai or Yigal Amir's trials. The Shabak's Humor And Absurdity Force didn't foresee that sixty one year old Sarah Shwartz would tell the truth at the end of the day.
And now for the punchline: Sgt. Arik Shwartz was charged and indicted for stealing weapons from the IDF and selling them to Hagai Amir. Why not, with such powerful evidence against him gathered by the Keystone Shabak?
A lecture tour is coalescing. I'm told I'll be speaking in Passaic, New Jersey and twice in Florida, with a chance of appearing in Toronto as well. If your group is interested in hosting me, I'll be in the NY area in mid-November. Please contact me quickly, if so.
SECOND ROOT & BRANCH ASSOCIATION JERUSALEM CONFERENCE
ON THE RABIN ASSASSINATION
DATE: Sunday, October 28, 2000
TIME: 4:00-9:00 P.M.
PLACE: Windmill Hotel
LANGUAGE: English (except where specified)
ADMISSION: NIS 25 per person
INFORMATION: [[email protected]]
PROGRAM: in formation