The inflamed political tensions surrounding the 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination are seeping into social networking sites. Anonymous users on Tuesday sent three electronic notices calling for the release of Yigal Amir, the late prime minister's killer, and pasted them onto the Facebook accounts belonging to political figures from both the left and the right.
The individuals whose accounts have been targeted are Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Kadima MKs Israel Hasson and Ze'ev Boim, Likud MK Ayoob Kara and National Union MK Michael Ben Ari. Other political activists and notable public figures who were sent the notice were former MK Mussi Raz, attorney and chief of the National Left movement, Eldad Yaniv, and far-right operatives Baruch Marzel and Tiran Polak.
The graphic shows an image of Amir with the words, "Yigal Amir shall be freed." The Hebrew letters "yud" and "resh" - Rabin's initials - are highlighted a different color in the message as a play on words. The other Hebrew letters form the phrase "gael ami", which is translated into "redeem my people."
Officially, no group or organization has taken responsibility for the message, nor is it clear who posted it on the Facebook pages.
A number of the notice recipients quickly erased the message from their Facebook home page. Although no laws were broken by sending the messages, some officials say the act is one of "political thuggery."
"This isn't the first time that people have posted expressions and slogans that contradict my political worldview on my Facebook home page," said one of the recipients. "But it has never been as visceral and blunt. I don't know whether to delete these postings or to keep them as proof of this violent act. This is an explicitly hostile takeover attempt of my private space. Some of my friends could not understand why I posted these messages on my account."
Meanwhile, Labor Party officials condemned their colleague, MK Einat Wilf, who called for the cancelation of the annual memorial rally for Rabin. Wilf also suggested that the party remove Rabin's portrait from its meeting room in the Knesset.
The lawmaker said her party was "busy perpetuating the despair which surrounded the Rabin assassination and the failed attempts to bring peace" and that it should revive the euphoria that preceded the murder.
Wilf said Rabin's portrait casts a domineering pall over the faction's relatively small meeting room, and it dwarfs a tiny portrait of David Ben-Gurion that hangs in the rear portion of the room. "It's enough to look at these two pictures to understand the essence of the Labor Party's decline since the assassination," she said.
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