The memorial rally for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Saturday quickly became a display of hatred and incitement. The sound of horns replaced the silence that would have been appropriate to commemorate one of the country’s senior sons, a fighter in the pre-state Palmach Zionist militia, Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff in the 1967 Six-Day War and elected prime minister.
Instead, the memorial rally is a tool for slamming the right and its leadership, a pathetic political, sectoral and patronizing rally that tramples on Rabin’s legacy. The left has misappropriated Rabin’s legacy to the point that one could be forgiven for believing he headed the Meretz Party, belonged to rights group B’Tselem, and supported Peace Now and the Joint Arab List. Rabin’s vision, character and legacy, and the terrible way in which he was killed, have all been refashioned to serve a narrative he would have found foreign.
The left-wing rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square was just another expression of the technology of social destruction by radical left-wing agitator Henry Mintzberg, the first person to establish and maintain solidarity organizations and weeping rallies. The desperate Israeli left is trying to act according to Mintzberg’s recommendations to encourage societal division and ensure that deep wounds remain wide open. It is a real shame that the memorial events for Rabin have been co-opted to this end.
The Israeli left has been at a low point for some 40 years. The public is learning to distance itself from the left’s opportunistic leadership, which moves from party to party, each time selling goods it simply doesn’t have. One former prime minister the media loves to quote is almost pitiful. There is no vision, no path, no truth to speak of. Under these circumstances, all that remains is to use this terrible murder the same way Zionist leader Haim Arlosoroff’s murder was used 85 years ago.
The number of people who attend the rally drops from year to year. Within a few years, it will likely become a small family affair. Most of Israel’s citizens came to understand the cynical way in which the rally was being used some time ago and simply avoid it. Not even the top Israeli artists who performed at the rally were enough to draw an audience to this event. Every right-wing minister or lawmaker who participates in this type of memorial rally is making a serious mistake. Instead of appreciating their good will, an appearance at the rally is perceived by members of the left as an apology from the right for something it never did. There is no reason to play into the left’s hypocritical hands.
For the sake of historical accuracy, we should mention that Rabin called the Association for Civil Rights in Israel the Association for Hamas Rights in Israel. He said that a Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan would be a cancer in the heart of the Middle East, and that if Israel gave then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat a state, he would take the entire country with it.
In a speech to high school students in 1995, Rabin said: “If they were to tell us the price of peace would be ceding a unified Jerusalem, we would relinquish peace.”
One of Rabin’s most famous statements was: “I have no property. I have only dreams to bequeath the next generations a better, more conciliatory world, a world that is pleasant to inhabit. That is not too much.”
If those who love Rabin want to sanctify his memory and bring him into millennia of historic Jewish legacy, they would be wise to adopt his spiritual will and stop destroying the remaining glue that holds us together as one people in one homeland.
Dr. Haim Shine is a faculty member of Israel’s Academic Center of Law and Science, and a member of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors.