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Rabin: We can't expect them to mourn

11/07/2003

Some people are most anxious to institutionalize the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, They want to make it into a neutral, national event, as though it was something that happened a long time ago, because of disagreements that are now long past. The memorial to Rabin would then become part of the national background, like the Lincoln memorial in the United States, symbol to a martyr of a conflict that is over. More correctly, it would become like a statue of Robert E. Lee, a tribute to a great man who happened to fight on the wrong side.

When extremists defaced the Rabin memorial with graffiti reading "Kahaneh was right," Ariel Sharon and others were quick to call for prosecution of the violators. Shaul Yahalom said, "NRP MK Shaul Yahalom said in reaction to the vandalism, "[E]very attack on Rabin's memorial is an attack on democracy."

At the memorial service for Rabin, Yahalom and Sharon blamed the left for trying to appropriate the assassination of Rabin. One might think that Rabin was murdered for advocating peace, whereas Yahalom and Sharon and their friends know better. We must not forget why Rabin was murdered, and what sort of incitement preceded that murder.

At the memoral service, Yahalom said, "You're using the memory of Rabin to deepen the divide... to add disagreement and hatred of our brothers..." He added, "How can you expect that those who think that Oslo brought a disaster upon us to identify and to mourn?" These remarks caused Rabin's daughter, Dalia Rabin Pelosof, to leave the service in anger.

How indeed, can Yahalom mourn Rabin? The national divide that killed Rabin, and the culture of incitement that accompanied it, are not dead. Just before he got busy claiming the legacy of Rabin for himself, Yahalom backed an appeal to the Attorney General to prosecute those who had negotiated the Geneva Accord, claiming that it is treason under article 97 of the penal code, which carries the death penalty. The sort of incitement that preceded the assassination of Rabin is not a thing of the past. An Israeli TV channel 1 news report showed extremist NRP rabbis of West Bank settlements, still engaged in passing death sentences on people for negotiated to give away parts of "the land of Israel." They are careful to tell the rest of us, the television audiences, that the sentence of death should be given by a court, but who knows what they are saying back home in their little sermons.

Yahalom himself is engaged in the same incitement. It is Yahalom and his friends in the government, together with the West Bank and Gaza settlers, who are defacing the memorial of Rabin. Because they are in the government, and have power to act, the injury they are doing to democracy is much greater than the damage done by some grafitti writers.
Ami Isseroff

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Replies: 1 Comment

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Posted by DONNA @ 11/07/2003 05:17 PM CST


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