(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called for “national reconciliation and brotherhood” during a ceremony at the Knesset legislature marking the 22 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Netanyahu’s comments came in response to remarks made hours earlier at a different state event in honor of Rabin. The slain prime minister’s son, Yuval, had said in a ceremony at Mount Herzl, “It’s time for a declaration that will call for an end to incitement.”
Subsequently, Netanyahu said at the Knesset, “I understand your pain in the face of the waves of slander against your father. You have reached out to me and I am throwing down the gauntlet. I call for national reconciliation and brotherhood.”
Directly addressing Rabin’s children, the prime minister said, “I admired your father very much, and I liked him. I met him for the first time in the early 1970s…and we spoke about throwing off the diplomatic pressure that was being put on Israel at the time. I was a youth, but I admired him very much.”
Rabin—who signed the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat—was assassinated by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir, an opponent of the peace process, on Nov. 4, 1995.
“When [Rabin] brought in the Oslo Accords,” said Netanyahu, “he was acting in what he considered to be the interest of the state of Israel. I acted, and I act today, according to what I consider to be the interest of the state. But I disagreed with him. And by the way, I said—and this has been documented countless times—he’s wrong, [but] he’s not a traitor.”
Netanyahu added that he agreed with Rabin about many issues, including the economy, security, Israel’s 1994 peace treaty with Jordan and reforming the Israeli electoral system.