When Anomalies Kill

The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

By
Yitzhak Rabin (1986)
When Anomalies Kill : The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin - Seth Clare

Abstract

In the fall of 2014, the United States Secret Service was the subject of much scrutiny in the wake of an embarrassing string of compromises to President Obama’s safety. This article seeks to determine if such criticism was warranted through an analysis of the flawed risk model that lead to the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Even though there was ample evidence portending this risk model’s impotence, it was not put to good use because of the Shin Bet’s (Israel’s equivalent of the Secret Service) focus on a priori experience with little consideration for a posteriori knowledge, most likely caused by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s so called “conjunction fallacy.” Ultimately, I conclude that Rabin’s assassination was the result of a seriously flawed understanding of risk, one thankfully not shared with the contemporary Secret Service.

Introduction

This past fall, the American media has lambasted the Secret Service in the wake of an embarrassing string of compromises to President Obama’s safety. In March of 2014, three Secret Service agents were sent home from the President’s Europe trip after a night of binge drinking in Amsterdam.[1] The agents in question were members of the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team— if there had been an attack, this team would have been the very last line of defense between the President and his assailants.[2] In September, a knife-wielding intruder successfully made it into the East Room of the White House after hopping a fence and going through an unlocked door on the North Portico.[3]  Most disturbingly of all, President Obama shared an elevator with an armed security contractor with three convictions for assault and battery during a September trip to Atlanta. The Secret Service apparently learned that the contractor was carrying a concealed weapon only after his elevator ride with the President.[4] According to Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, these events “have tested the trust of the American people” and have tarnished the Secret Service’s reputation.[5]

But how worried should Americans, particularly President Obama, be over these recent mishaps? Are “accidents bound to happen,” as the saying the goes, or are these events genuine cause for concern, suggesting that the Secret Service is using a flawed risk model to protect President Obama? Indeed, these Secret Service blunders offer a compelling reason to analyze how governments can fail to manage the ever-present risk of political assassination. To do so, I will examine the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the context of risk analysis. Though Israel is a world-renowned authority in intelligence-gathering and national security, an assassin had an embarrassingly easy time murdering Rabin. This article will demonstrate that Rabin’s death was caused not by incompetent bodyguards, but by the Shin Bet’s (Israel’s equivalent of the Secret Service) flawed risk model. Even though there was ample evidence suggesting this model’s impotence, the model was not changed because the Shin Bet’s risk calculations relied heavily on a priori experience with little consideration for a posteriori knowledge. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s “conjunction fallacy” helps explain why this might have happened. This is a story of how a broken risk model changed the course of a nation and world history. This is the story of Yigal Amir— the anomaly assassin.

The Assassination

On November 4, 1995, Rabin attended a massive rally held in support of the Oslo Accords. The rally’s slogan, “Yes To Peace - No To Violence,” like many details of the Rabin assassination, now seems rather ironic.[6] That night, Rabin spoke in front of an audience of over 100,000 Israelis at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv.[7] “I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace, are prepared to take risks for peace,” he said prophetically.[8] Rabin certainly was taking risks, though the true nature of this risk would not be fully understood until later that night. After his speech, Rabin remained on stage to sing “Shir Lashalom” (“A Song for Peace”) with the crowd.[9] With the singing finished, Rabin was moved off the rally stage, down a flight of stairs, towards his waiting car through a “sterile zone”— an area that is supposed to be sealed off from anybody without security clearance.[10] As Rabin descended the staircase headed for his car, one of his six bodyguards paused to double-check for threats at the top of the stairs. This created a small opening in the wall of bodyguards trained to put their bodies between the Prime Minister and danger, allowing an assassin standing idly by the stairs to fire three shots from a Beretta 9-millimeter handgun. Security tapes revealed that in the minutes before the assassination, the killer mingled and even joked with other drivers and security personnel despite not having security clearance.[11] Apparently, the Tel Aviv Police and Shin Bet thought the assassin was a VIP driver in plain clothes. Of the three shots fired, one went into the arm of a Shin Bet agent, (who to the agency’s credit, did manage to put himself in the line of fire) while the other two went directly into Rabin’s back. Though Rabin was rushed to a nearby hospital, the gunshots proved fatal— Rabin was pronounced dead due to blood loss and a collapsed lung less than an hour after the shooting.[12] When the blood-soaked lyrics of “Shir Lasholam” were discovered in Rabin’s jacket pocket with a bullet-hole, they would become an enduring symbol for the untimely end of not only a prime minister, but a genuine opportunity for peace in the Middle East (see Figure 1).[13]

Figure 1: "Shir Lasholam" lyrics taken from Rabin's person
the night of the assassination. Source: the Knesset of Israel

The Faulty Model and the Anomaly

In attempting to understand what went so wrong the night of Rabin’s death, one must turn to the Shin Bet’s risk modeling. If, as we will see, the Shin Bet had reason to believe Rabin’s life was in danger, why did the model fail to produce the ideal outcome: identifying Rabin’s killer as a threat before the assassination? To answer this question, it would be instructive to paint a picture of the killer. Rabin’s assassin was a man named Yigal Amir. Twenty-five years old, Amir was a vociferous opponent to the Oslo Accords championed by Rabin. He believed that the Oslo Accords were more than bad policy: they were religiously sinful. Before becoming politically active, Amir received military training in the use of guns and explosives. In the years leading up to the assassination, he helped to organize a number of rallies and protests in Israel specifically objecting to Rabin and the Oslo Accords.[14] During one such rally, he told a friend that, “Rabin must be killed.”[15] In describing Amir’s obsession with Rabin, another friend said that it was “like a bug went into his head and nobody could take it out.” Indeed, Yigal Amir was the prototypical assassin: male, young, single, religiously zealous, morally absolute, politically active, and a capable marksman.[16] In most cases, Israel’s intelligence network would have easily identified the threat this man posed. Amir, however, was anomalous to a risk model designed to protect Rabin from Arab terrorists. He was an Israeli Jew.

In 1996, the Israeli government launched an official Commission of Inquiry into the Rabin shooting. The report’s findings offer valuable insight into how the Shin Bet’s Arab-oriented risk model failed. It found that

  1. The Shin Bet had abundant information detailing the intensification of threats against the life of Prime Minister Rabin.
  2. Security planners did a satisfactory job accounting for the “real risks of attack from extremist Arab terrorist organizations.”
  3. While credible intelligence did point to the growing danger of an attack from Israeli Jewish extremists, “the threat of a Jewish assailant was not sufficiently emphasized to the bodyguards.”
  4. Overall, security officials “did not do enough, in terms of adjusting its protection method to the new risks” despite a credible body of intelligence data indicating both Jewish and Arab threats.[17]

In short, Israel’s security apparatus developed a risk model resting on the all-important assumption that an attack on the Prime Minister would be carried out by Arab terrorists. This assumption was reasonable enough, but became catastrophic when the Shin Bet did not revaluate its logic when confronted with data clearly showing that this assumption was unfounded. The Shin Bet’s inability to alter its risk assumptions is as much to blame for the assassination as Amir’s hollow point bullets.

The Data Seen

It’s not hard to understand why the Shin Bet’s risk model was so focused on Arab threats: 1993 and 1994 were watershed years for Israel in terms of Islamic terrorism.[18][0]According to statistics released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 1980-1989 Israel averaged 17.4 terrorism fatalities per year.[19] In contrast, there were 34 terrorist-related fatalities in 1992, 45 in 1993, and 65 in 1994. The year before Rabin’s death was, at the time, the single worst year for terrorist fatalities since Israel’s founding in 1948.[20] In the words of the New York Times

In spring 1994, Palestinian Muslim fundamentalist groups opposed to the peace accords – Hamas and Islamic Jihad – launched a bombing campaign inside Israel. There had been sporadic killings before, but now they seemed to pile up: A suicide bomber in the bus station in Hadera killed himself and five Israelis on April 13; another suicide bomber killed 22 Israelis in Tel Aviv; two suicide bombers, the second targeting rescuers, hit soldiers waiting for a bus in Beit Lid. The crescendo of blood drew crowds so furious that Prime Minister Rabin could not visit the scenes of the bombings. More Israelis died after the 1993 peace accord – more than 150, by most counts – than in the long years of the Palestinian intifada.[21]

Few Israelis could have been more aware of the dangers posed by Arab fundamentalists than Rabin himself.  Rabin had served in the military or government during every single one of Israel’s conflicts with Arab nations and terrorist organizations. He was a foot soldier during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (Israel’s War of Independence) as well as Israel’s Chief of Staff during the Six-Day War. While serving as Minister of Defense during the First Intifada, he earned a hawkish reputation for, according to some sources, preferring to quell violence with violence.[22] It is therefore unsurprising that Rabin’s security detail developed a risk model focused on the possibility of an Arab attack. The underlying problem was that this model failed to account for any non-Arab threats. Ironically, at the time of the assassination the head of the Shin Bet’s Internal Security Agency happened to have written his master's thesis on the looming danger of radical right wing Israelis.[23]

The Data Unseen

The Israeli intelligence and security communities’ focus on protecting Rabin from Arab terrorists seems myopic in the context of all the data that was available to the Shin Bet.  Viewed in the context of this data, it is hard to believe security forces were not better prepared to defend the Prime Minister. As Dr. Yoram Peri, editor of The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, explains, “the writing was on the wall.”[24] On a macro-level, the twentieth century was unprecedented in terms of political assassinations. While there were only 100 political assassinations attempted in the nineteenth century (30 successful), there were at least 700 attempted in the twentieth century (70 successful, including Rabin).[25] Moreover, when Egyptian assassins killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, they set a distinct precedent for a Middle Eastern leader being killed by his own people in retaliation for going forward with the Arab-Israeli peace process.[26]

While this historical trend was probably difficult to appreciate in 1995, there was nevertheless a robust body of evidence portending violent behavior from Israel’s radical religious-Zionists. According to Professor Ehud Spinzak, author of “Israel’s Radical Right and the Countdown to the Rabin Assassination,” Israel’s far-right underwent a profound radicalization in 1994 and early 1995 due to “the devastating blow of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, in which the government agreed to the principle of territorial compromise, Israel’s recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the eruption of Muslim terrorism, and the continued implementation of Palestinian autonomy on the West Bank.”[27] Though it is dangerous to paint in broad strokes when describing political and religious divisions in Israel, it would be fair to say that in this context, Spinzak’s “radical right” refers to the religious-Zionists who believed that the land of Israel was sacred— more valuable than even human life. Yigal Amir certainly held this conviction.[28]

Professor Gerald Kromer of Bar-Ilan University’s Criminology Department saliently points out that “it's not a coincidence that the killer came from Bar-Ilan [University], which is one of the strongholds of religious Zionism. We are talking of a man who acted out of a firm, clear ideology. It's not only Yigal.”[29] A devoted student of Talmudic law, Amir would later contend that he committed no crime based on his own interpretation of the Torah. “According to Jewish law, the minute a Jew gives over his land and people to the enemy, he must be killed,” Amir told the judge at his court hearing. “My whole life has been studying the Talmud and I have all the data,” he said.[30] The Shin Bet, for its part, also had “all the data,” yet it was tragically never used to correct the risk model protecting Rabin.

As Professor Kromer suggests, Amir was not alone in his fundamentalist interpretation of the Torah. But, more importantly, it was no secret that there were many Israelis who believed that preventing Rabin’s “Land for Peace” initiative justified any means. When Rabin signed the Oslo Accords, several ultra-orthodox Rabbis publically denounced not only the agreements themselves, but also the very legitimacy of the Israeli government.[31] Inflammatory language abounded. For example, Rabbi Elyakim Haetzni left very little to the imagination when he openly stated that a “government responsible for the death of Jews needs to know that its members may stand trial for treason, the same as in France when Nazi collaborators were sentenced to death.”[32]

With tensions mounting, the religious right’s condemnation of Rabin and the Oslo Accords was joined by statements from the political right. Likud, an influential right wing political party, frequently used seditious language to condemn Rabin and the Oslo Accords. A few weeks before the assassination, a group of journalists recorded the use of the following terms to describe Rabin at a single Likud rally:

‘wicked,’ ‘insane,’ ‘diseased,’ ‘treacherous,’ ‘reckless,’ ‘obsequious,’ ‘mentally deranged,’ ‘assimilated,’ ‘destroying the dreams of the Jewish people,’ ‘possessed with making concessions,’ ‘disconnected from Jewish values and traditions,’ ‘a two time collaborator- once with a terrorist organization and once against Jews,’ ‘leading Israel to suicide,’ and ‘shrinking Israel into Auschwitz borders.’[33]

The incendiary language of religious and political leaders helped to galvanize radical right-wingers at the grass roots level. Fringe groups of settlers such as Kach, Kahane Chai, and Zo-Artzenu all launched protests against the Oslo Accords, their leaders claiming that “the government should be held responsible for its crime against Judaism.”[34] Benny Allon, a leader of Zo-Artzenu, went on record stating “Rabin is leading the state to civil war. If he’s not careful, he’s liable to get killed…you have no idea how many people feel contempt for the government, and they have no qualms about doing something about it.”[35] Another radical religious-Zionist group, ‘Women in Green,’ declared that Rabin’s coalition government was a “junta…raping the Jewish people.”[36] Nekuda, a popular settler magazine, told readers that Rabin’s leadership represented “a government of blood...wicked and cruel…that could create a new Tiananmen Square in Israel…All means are Kosher to bring it down.”[37] At some right wing rallies, protesters even marched with posters depicting Rabin as a Nazi German or Arab Palestinian (see Figure 2).[38] In the weeks leading up the assassination, furious demonstrators outside of the Rabin household compared Rabin’s wife Leah to Clara Petacci, Mussolini’s mistress.[39]

Figure 2: Rabin depicted as a Nazi a month
before the assassination. Source: BBC News.

Of course, Israel is a robust democracy that protects free speech. Words are not the same as actions. Nevertheless, by 1995 radical Israeli settlers had already displayed a tremendous capacity for unilateral and unprovoked violence. The Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre (also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre) was no doubt the starkest example of this.  Like many religious sites in Israel and its occupied territories, the Cave of the Patriarchs is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. During Ramadan on February 25, 1994, a religious-Zionist settler named Baruch Goldstein fired a machine gun into the Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 29 Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125.[40] Many of Goldstein’s neighbors and friends in Kiryat Arba (a settlement near Hebron) lauded the slaughter.[41]

As it turns out, Shin Bet personnel investigated the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre (among other Israeli attacks against Palestinians) yet it never occurred to these Shin Bet agents that the settlers might ever attack Israelis. Regardless, the numerous death threats Rabin received from Jewish Israelis makes the Shin Bet’s flawed risk model utterly incomprehensible.[42] In a newspaper interview in October of 1995, a retired Shin Bet Officer named Shimon Romah remarked that, “conditions currently obtain in which an extremist will not only to humiliate the Prime Minister, but do more. I’m afraid that the motive exists for an attempt on the life of Rabin.”[43] It is a shame that the Shin Bet agents still in service did not share Romah’s clairvoyance.

Why Was The Data Ignored?

In this context, Rabin’s death was anything but a ‘ten-sigma event.’ There was abundant evidence suggesting the imminence of the assassination. The official Commission of Inquiry into the killing of Rabin reached a similar conclusion, stating that

The [Shin Bet General Security Service] had abundant information about the intensification of threats against the lives of prominent persons, first and foremost, the Prime Minister. The [Shin Bet General Security Service] did not do enough, in terms of adjusting its protection method to the new risks, to cope with the worsening threat, and did not ensure that its VIP bodyguards properly understood the severity of this threat.[44]

In other words, there were clear signs that Israel’s security apparatus was using a faulty risk model, yet the Israelis never revaluated their key assumption. This assumption was based on a prevailing pattern of a priori experience (Arab terrorist attacks and wars with Arab countries) and ignored the a posteriori knowledge of data available to the Shin Bet (religious-Zionist violence, incendiary language, and death threats).[45] In attempting to understand how Israel’s entire security apparatus could not have seen the danger in assuming that only Arab terrorists might attack Rabin, the research of psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (who are ironically Israeli) is quite illuminating. 

Among other things, Kahneman and Tversky studied how human beings understand probability and randomness. In the course of their research they discovered that most people have difficulty reconciling their instinct to form past experiences into recognizable patterns with a basic axiom of statistics. Specifically, the law of probability which states that, in a closed system, the chances of two events both occurring can never be greater than the chances of any one event occurring individually. Kahneman and Tversky named the psychological failure to recognize this simple rule of probability the “conjunction fallacy.”[46] The Shin Bet seems to have fallen victim to the “conjunction fallacy” because it believed that the probability of dual events (1. An assassin would attack Rabin; 2. The assassin would be Arab) was greater than the possibility of a single event (1. An assassin would attack Rabin). While the Shin Bet’s failure to protect Rabin is inexcusable, Kahneman and Tversky’s research indicates the “conjunction fallacy” is in fact a very commonly made error in human reasoning.[47] According to, Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, “if the details we are given fit our mental picture of something, then the more details in a scenario, the more real it seems and hence the more probable we consider it to be— even though any act of adding less-than-certain details to a conjecture makes the conjecture less probable.”[48] In sum, the “conjunction fallacy” offers a cogent explanation as to how an entire country’s security apparatus could be blind to the danger of the key assumption underlying the risk model used to protect Rabin.

Conclusion

The most chilling irony of this story is that Islamic terrorists could have exploited the erroneous nature of the Shin Bet’s risk model just as easily as Yigal Amir did. What might have happened if radical Islamic terrorists had the idea to disguise themselves as Israelis in any one of the numerous terrorist attacks perpetrated in the years leading up to Rabin’s assassination? Based on what happened to Rabin, it’s not hard to imagine such a scheme being devastatingly effective. The silver lining of Rabin’s death, if there is one, is that the erroneous nature of the Shin Bet’s risk model was discovered in the aftermath of a single political killing rather than a successful terrorist plot to blow up an Israeli synagogue, school, or hospital.

Returning now to President Obama and the Secret Service, the story of Rabin’s assassination has profound implications. When accounting for risk, the best models use both a priori knowledge drawn from past experience and a posteriori knowledge drawn from data and empiricism. Rabin’s security detail relied far too heavily on the former. The Israelis were so confident that Arab terrorists would be the ones to carry out an attack on Rabin that they developed a risk model that grossly underestimated uncertainty. Despite the Secret Service’s recent buffoonery, it is unlikely the President is in serious danger because the Secret Service is acutely aware of the uncertainty it faces protecting Obama. Since the President faces a diversity of threats— from disgruntled postal workers to a tactical nuclear strike— the risk model used to prevent his assassination is more robust than Rabin’s was. When the Secret Service has information of a potential threat, it considers all possible outcomes, regardless of what a priori experience might indicate. Thus, this article’s final irony is that the multiplicity of threats to President Obama actually makes him safer. Since the Secret Service has to manage nearly boundless uncertainty, it takes precautions against every possible threat, however unlikely. For example, the Secret Service keeps several pints of the President’s blood type nearby at all times, including in the Presidential Limousine and on Air Force One.[49] This precaution alone may have saved Rabin’s life. In conclusion, Congressman Issa and the rest of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform should rest easy. While the Secret Service would do well to improve its public image, it probably has a much better understanding of risk and uncertainty than the Shin Bet did in November of 1995.

Notes & References

  1. Alex Fitzpatrick, “Secret Service Agents Booted From Obama’s Europe Trip After Drinking,” Time Magazine, March 25, 2014 <http://time.com/38093/secret-service-drinking-obama-europe/>.
  2. Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura, “Secret Service Agents Sent Home From Netherlands Were Warned To Avoid Trouble,” The Washington Post, March 26, 2014, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/secret-service-agents-on-obama-detail-sent-home-from-netherlands-after-night-of-drinking/2014/03/26/86d1a8a6-b4e6-11e3-8020-b2d790b3c9e1_story.html>.
  3. Amy Davidson, “Omar Gonzalez’s White House Run,” The New Yorker, September 29, 2014, <http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/omar-gonzalezs-white-house-run>.
  4. Carol D. Leonnig, “Armed Contractor With Criminal Record Was On Elevator With Obama In Atlanta,” The Washington Post, September 30, 2014,  <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/armed-former-convict-was-on-elevator-with-obama-in-atlanta/2014/09/30/76d7da24-48e3-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html>.
  5. Eliott C. McLaughlin, Jason Hanna and Deirdre Walsh, “Secret Service director calls White House intrusion 'unacceptable',” CNN Online: International Edition, October 1, 2014, <http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/30/politics/wh-secret-service-hearing/>.
  6. Yitzhak Rabin Center, “The Night of the Murder,” <http://www.rabincenter.org.il/Web/En/LifeWork/Thenightofthemurder/Default.aspx>.
  7. BBC News: On This Day, “4 November, 1995: Israeli PM Shot Dead,” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/4/newsid_2514000/2514437.stm>.
  8. Yitzhak Rabin Center, “The Last Speech: Address by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a Peace Rally,” November 4, 1995, <http://www.rabincenter.org.il/Items/01103/RabinAddressatapeacerally.pdf>.
  9. Dan Perry and Alfred Ironside, Israel and the Quest for Permanence, (North Carolina: Mcfarland & Company Incorporated, 1999), 87.
  10. Perry and Ironside, Israel and the Quest for Permanence, 88.
  11. Johns Kifner, “A SON OF ISRAEL: Rabin’s Assassin— a Special Report,” The New York Times, November 19, 1995, <http://www.nytimes.com/1995/11/19/world/son-israel-rabin-s-assassin-special-report-belief-blood-making-rabin-s-killer.html?src=pm&pagewanted=3&pagewanted=all>.  
  12. The Anti-Defamation League, “In Tribute & In Memory: Yitzhak Rabin,” Last Modified 2013, <http://www.adl.org/imagine/yitzhak-rabin.html>.
  13. The State of Israel, “Yitzak Rabin (1922-1995): Picture Gallery,” Last Modified 2009, <http://knesset.gov.il/rabin/eng/RabEng_Gallery.htm>.  
  14. Laura Blumenfeld, “Slain Leader's Legacy Lives On, Assassin Admits,” The Washington Post, May 14, 1999, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/daily/may99/amir14.htm>.
  15. Kifner, “A SON OF ISRAEL.”
  16. Ibid.  
  17. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Report of Commission of Inquiry into Murder of Late PM Rabin,” March 28, 1996, Last Modified 2013, <http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFA-Archive/1996/Pages/Report%20of%20Commission%20of%20Inquiry%20into%20Murder%20of%20Lat.aspx>.
  18. Ehud Spinzak, “Israel’s Radical Right and the Countdown to the Rabin Assassination,” in The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, ed. Yoram Peri et al. (California: Stanford University Press, 2000), 97.
  19. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Terrorism Deaths in Israel: 1920-1999,” Last Modified 2013, <http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/terrorism/palestinian/pages/terrorism%20deaths%20in%20israel%20-%201920-1999.aspx>.
  20. Ibid.   
  21. Kifner, “A SON OF ISRAEL.”
  22. Yael S. Aronoff, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 100.
  23. Kifner, “A SON OF ISRAEL.”
  24. Yoram Peri, “Introduction: The Writing Was on the Wall,” in The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, ed. Yoram Peri et al. (California: Stanford University Press, 2000), 1.
  25. Yoram Peri, “Introduction: The Writing Was on the Wall,” 2.
  26. BBC News: On This Day, “6 October, 1981: Egypt’s President Sadat Assassinated,” <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/6/newsid_2515000/2515841.stm>.
  27. Spinzak, “Israel’s Radical Right and the Countdown to the Rabin Assassination,”96
  28. Kifner, “A SON OF ISRAEL.”
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.  
  31. Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 100.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Colin Shindler, A History of Modern Israel, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 261.
  34. Shindler, A History of Modern Israel, 260.
  35. Peri, “Introduction: The Writing Was on the Wall,” 6.
  36. Shindler, A History of Modern Israel, 261.
  37. Peri, “Introduction: The Writing Was on the Wall,” 4.
  38. BBC News, “Israel Wrestles With Nazi Insults,”  May 24, 2004, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3742365.stm>.
  39. Shindler, A History of Modern Israel, 262.
  40. Avi Issacharoff and Chaim Levinson, “Settlers Remember Gunman Goldstein; Hebron Riots Continue,” Haaretz, February 28, 2010, < http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/settlers-remember-gunman-goldstein-hebron-riots-continue-1.263834>.  
  41. Sarah Helm, “Hebreon Settlers Shed No Tears After Slaughter,” The Independent, October 22, 2014, <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/hebron-settlers-shed-no-tears-after-slaughter-militant-jews-are-turning-mass-killer-baruch-goldstein-into-a-folk-hero-writes-sarah-helm-from-kiryat-arba-1397002.html>.
  42. Shindler, A History of Modern Israel, 261.
  43. Peri, “Introduction: The Writing Was on the Wall,” 7
  44. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Report of Commission of Inquiry into Murder of Late PM Rabin.”
  45. For a formal explanation of a priori and a posteriori knowledge and their differences see: Bruce Russel, “A Priori Justification and Knowledge,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online,  (Summer 2014 Edition), <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/apriori/#ExaIllDifBetPriPosEmpJus>.
  46. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, “Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgment,” Psychological Review, Vol 90(4), 1983.
  47. Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, (New York: Random House Incorporated, 2008), 29.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Peter Greenberg, “Inside the President’s Armored Limo,” Autoweek, October 17, 2013, <http://autoweek.com/article/car-life/inside-presidents-armored-limo> and Rose Brennan “President Obama’s Flight and Ride,” AsiaOne Transport, April 28, 2014, <http://transport.asiaone.com/news/general/story/president-obamas-flight-and-ride>.  
Seth Clare is currently studying for his M.A. in international relations and international economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration in energy, resources, and the environment. For his undergraduate degree, Seth earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the Honors College at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. This fall, his senior history thesis, “Marx Cohen and Clear Springs Plantation,” was published in the Journal of Southern Jewish History. After graduating college in 2013, Seth spent a year in Jerusalem, working in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Israel Government Fellows program. Working at the Ministry, Seth got a first-hand look at the ratification of a historic water agreement between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Seeing these acrimonious parties work together to manage their water inspired Seth to attend SAIS and explore multilateral solutions to energy and environmental challenges. Seth originally wrote this article as a case study for a course on risk in political economy taught at SAIS.