Rabin in 1976 Interview: Settlements Are a Cancer

The late prime minister also warned that Israel would become an apartheid state if it continued to rule over the population of the occupied territories.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton survey Jerusalem from at the King David Hotel in 1994.
Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton survey Jerusalem from at the King David Hotel in 1994.Credit: GPO
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called the settlers "a cancer" and warned against Israel's becoming an apartheid state in an interview recorded during his first term as prime minister in 1976.

The recording was included in segments of a new film, titled "Rabin in His Own Words," which were screened on Israeli TV on Thursday night.

In the interview, parts of which he defined as "off the record," Rabin referred to the Gush Emunim movement, which began campaigning for Jewish settlement in the occupied territories in 1974.

"A settlement movement which is like a cancer in the social and democratic tissue of the state of Israel," Rabin said of Gush Emunim. "A group that takes the law into its own hands."

In other recordings, Rabin is heard warning against the potential damage that settlement could cause to Israel.

"I can't say with certainty that we won't need to evacuate them," he said. "Because of the [Arab] population. I don't think it will be possible to [settle] over time, unless we want to get to apartheid, with a million-and-a-half Arabs inside the state of Israel. On that, I'm prepared to go to elections."

"With a historical perspective, people will question what Israel was doing in 1976. And in what a lousy and unimportant place. A mystical debate focused on the existential problem of the existence of Israel. It's unbelievable what is settlement anyway? What sort of struggle is it? What means?"

The film "Rabin in his own words," which will be screened on the twentieth anniversary of Rabin's assassination. They were recorded by Rabin's press secretary Ron Patir.

The interview isn't the only known instance of Rabin referring to the settlements as "cancer." In his 1979 memoir, "Pinkas Sherut" ("service book"), Rabin referred to the Gush Emunim group as a "cancer in the body of Israeli democracy."

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel

ISRAEL-VOTE

Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism