Rabin’s Son at Memorial Ceremony: My Father Did Not Try to Silence His Opponents

PM Netanyahu responded to Yuval Rabin's remarks later in the day: 'I understand your pain in the face of the waves of slander and smears against your father. Believe me, I understand'

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Yitzhak Rabin's son, Yuval Rabin, speaking at his father's memorial ceremony, November 2016.
File photo: Yitzhak Rabin's son, Yuval Rabin, speaking at his father's memorial ceremony, November 2016.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

The incitement against Yitzhak Rabin continues to this day, said the son of the prime minister who was assassinated 22 years ago this week. Yuval Rabin said his father was never treated with kid gloves by the media, yet his father did not initiate legislation or act to silence his opponents.

“He did not flee responsibility and was not a crybaby,” Rabin said, speaking Wednesday at the memorial ceremony for his father at Mount Herzl.

“Anyone who thinks differently is marked as a traitor,” he added. “Rabin did not receive any pleasure from the High Court of Justice or from well-funded nonparliamentary organizations.”

After the official ceremony at Mount Herzl, another ceremony was held in the Knesset, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Yuval Rabin’s remarks.

I understand your pain in the face of the waves of slander and smears against your father. Believe me, I understand,” Netanyahu said.

As he put it, “I call for national reconciliation and unity. I have done so many times in the past, but in light of your emotional call, I once again repeat this message in full force. And I call for unification around the security and diplomatic principles shared by most of the people. May the memory of Rabin, a Jewish, Zionist and Israeli patriot, be safeguarded in the heart of our people forever.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) told the Knesset: “The role of the leadership is to stop hating and prevent hatred. Its obligation is not to tear the people into pieces. The role of the leadership is to preserve Israel united and democratic, capable of managing internal disputes and making decisions with respect, as difficult as they may be, without hatred and without violence.”

Netanyahu also spoke at the ceremony on Mount Herzl. He said that 22 years after the murder of Rabin there was agreement in Israel about the future of the country and its policies.

“My position on Jerusalem is like Rabin’s. He emphasized that Jerusalem will include Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze’ev. That is my position; it is the position of most Israelis,” Netanyahu said, referring to two West Bank settlements.

President Reuven Rivlin also attended the memorial ceremony, as did new Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Gadi Eisenkot.

Rivlin spoke of Rabin’s connection to Jerusalem. “Taking responsibility for Jerusalem in its entirety is Rabin’s legacy,” he said.

Esther Brot, a resident of the Ofra settlement who will speak Saturday night at the annual Rabin rally in Tel Aviv, spoke with Israel Radio on Wednesday. “The public discourse on both sides led to the murder of a prime minister,” she said.

The theme of the rally is “We are one people,” yet protests against the organizers continues. The organizers of have been trying to avoid being labeled leftists. The rally is being organized this year for the first time by the groups Darkenu and Commanders for Israel’s Security.

On Wednesday, the Facebook page for the rally was hacked, with the phrases “fight the occupation” and “strive for peace” added.

The organizers only learned about the changes when Haaretz informed them. They alerted Facebook, removed the changes and said they would file a complaint with the police.

“We regret that the discourse surrounding the memorial rally for the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, has deteriorated into illegal acts and a break-in into the rally’s Facebook page,” the organizers said in a statement.

“We condemn in every way these illegal and violent acts that do not honor Rabin’s memory – all the more so on the official day of commemoration of the murder that falls today.”

The original text of the ads for the rally does not mention that Rabin was murdered, nor do the words “peace” or “occupation” appear at all, ostensibly out of a desire to appeal to the broadest possible audience. As a result of the criticism, the organizers added the word “murder” to their posters and ads.

“We are one people,” reads the headline of the ad. Underneath it says, “A mass rally in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory,” with a photo of Rabin and the Israeli flag in the background.

“On November 4, we will stand together, all Israelis from all corners of the country, and we will strengthen the unity of the people, moderation and Israel’s secure future – for the eternity of the nation-state of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, a democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of Independence,” reads the invitation. It states that the rally will be “without the involvement of political parties or speeches by incumbent politicians.”

Many on the left have criticized the rally’s organizers and accused them of blurring both Rabin’s legacy and events that led up to the murder.

In response to the report in Haaretz that the organizers also told left-wing parties and movements they would not be allowed to put up booths at the event as they have done in the past, the organizers will now allow booths.

The keynote speaker will be former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit. This decision was made after the organizers failed to bring together on one stage the six living former IDF chiefs of staff.

Oded Ravivi, head of the Efrat Local Council and Yehuda Meshi Zahav, head of the first aid service Zaka, are scheduled to speak, as is Brot from Ofra. The invitation to the three settlers to speak also stirred even more criticism from the left, as well as the fact that Brot lived in a house built on private Palestinian land. Also, she was evicted from her home at the order of the High Court of Justice.

There will be performances by singers Esther Rada, Shiri Maimon, Yehuda Poliker, Moshe Peretz, Agam Buhbut, Hanan Ben-Ari and the Sharonit Choir.

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