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Second Guessing Rabin


There is a school of journalism that believes that outrageous ideas sell newspapers. This is no doubt the origin of proposals to nuke Mecca and expel Arabs and of headlines such as "Protocols of the Elders of Neocon." If it works, then Gideon Levy has sold many copies of Ha'aretz with his claim that Yitzhak Rabin was a coward.

Levy insists that Rabin should have evacuated the Hebron settlements after Baruch Goldstein perpetrated the massacre in Purim of 1994:

Perhaps truly on that night, when he refrained from evacuating the Hebron settlers, an important characteristic of his was expressed, a characteristic that is not mentioned when speaking about "Rabin's legacy" (a vague term than no one knows how to define): On that night, Rabin was revealed to be a cowardly statesman.

The article was greeted by the usual crowd of Haaretz commenters who were for the most part glad to hear that Rabin is a coward, and some added that he was a drunk as well. Did you ever try to get a comment published in Ha'aretz? I tried. No luck so far.

Rabin spent all of his adult life and most of his youth in the service of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. All that just to be shot by a representative of a demented political philosophy. As if that was not enough, human detritus of different persuasions spread rumors that he was a drunk, that he was assassinated by Peres, that he was assassinated by Sharon. Not content with that, the Gideon Levys of the world provide us with brilliant Monday morning quarterbacking that "proves" that Rabin was a coward. The Hebron settlement was not put in place by Rabin. It was there for a long time, and once it was allowed, nobody could succeed in dislodging it. Barak did not get rid of it. Sharon did not get rid of it even after the settlers ran riot and attacked the IDF. Because of the tragic history of the Hebron massacre of 1929, and because of the political clout of the settlers and the symbolism of Hebron in Jewish national and religious life, Hebron is a political holy cow, and Gideon Levy knows that. Someone should be thinking about how to back out of there gracefully, but in 1994 it was not possible.

Of course, given that Rabin was assassinated anyhow, it is obvious now that he should have evacuated Hebron. We can imagine the cabinet meeting:

Rabin: I have decided to evacuate Hebron.

Peres: You can't do that, the government will fall if you evacuate Hebron. Bibi will come to power or worse, and the peace process will be ruined.

Rabin: So what's the worst that could happen? By November 1995 I'll be dead if I stay in office anyhow. No loss.

But Rabin, who knew many things, could not imagine that he would be murdered by a nut. What a pity, Mr. Levy, that we can't send you back there in a time machine to warn Rabin that he better evacuate Hebron. While you are there, perhaps you can explain to him about the need for more action against terror and improving the daily lives of Palestinians. And don't forget to tell him to stay away from the rally or watch his back when walking to his car.

Of course, there is a possibility that you will not return from your time travel.

No loss.

Ami Isseroff

Shana Tova - Ramadan Karim.

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000384.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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