Netanyahu: 25 Years After Rabin Murder, Incitement Against PM Persists

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 29, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem, October 29, 2020.Credit: Adina Walman / Knesset
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday at a special Knesset session marking 25 years to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that threats are being made against him and his family.

"Twenty-five years after Rabin's assassination, incitement to murder the prime minister and his family persists and no one says a word," Netanyahu said, referring to the wave of anti-government protests that have swept the country in recent months.

"We remember the national tragedies that have befallen us in the more distant past, when unbridled zealots took the law into their own hands. If we allow people on the margins to behave this way, then today, too, we may find ourselves at the edge of an abyss," he said.

"We all must condemn destructive displays of incitement to violence and mockery on any side. We must strongly condemn any expression of political or other violence on the part of any camp. A hail of bullets in a city plaza never was nor will ever be allowed to take the place of a decision made by the people at the ballot box."

Weeks after Rabin was murdered, Netanyahu said, he told the Knesset "that the foundation of any free and democratic society is strong public debate about issues on the public agenda. So not only do violence and incitement to violence endanger democracy, it is endangered to no lesser degree by an atmosphere that silences political rivals, which is a real danger in any open society."

The prime minister also mentioned the latest normalization deals Israel reached with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Earlier Thursday, President Reuven Rivlin said hatred is rampant in Israel, tearing the country in two.     

Speaking at the official memorial ceremony at the president's residence, Rivlin said that "The country is split like the Red Sea between two camps, and the hatred is simmering underfoot."

"It is unacceptable that signs should be raised that call for the deaths of citizens," Rivlin said.

"It is unacceptable that journalists should live under threat. It is unacceptable that citizens should strike citizens," Rivlin said, likely referring to the violence directed at anti-Netanyahu protesters

At the ceremony, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said that Rabin was "very troubled by what we see in this house. We cannot be satisfied with bringing peace upon us, we need to do it. We have no right to exist without military might. None of this is worth it if there is not peace between us." He added, "It's possible to apologize for what happened here in the past 25 years. It's not enough."

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