Rivlin: 25 Years After Rabin Assassination 'Hatred Is Simmering,' Israel Split Into Two Camps

President Rivlin says it's 'unacceptable that we legitimize the next political murder,' While Gantz says Rabin 'would have been troubled' by recent events

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President Reuven Rivlin speaking at the Rabin memorial at his official residence in Jerusalem, October 29, 2020.
President Reuven Rivlin speaking at the Rabin memorial at his official residence in Jerusalem, October 29, 2020. Credit: Haim Tzach / GPO
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

President Reuven Rivlin, speaking Thursday at the ceremony marking 25 years to the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, said hatred is rampant in Israel as it is torn into two hawkish camps.     

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."

The ceremony has been downsized this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"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-government demonstrations," Rivlin added. 

"It's unacceptable that severe verbal violence is being directed at police. It is unacceptable that we legitimize the next political murder," which would take place "through words or through silence, throw a look or through looking away, through actions or through inaction."

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."

Dalia Rabin, the late prime minister's daughter, said during the ceremony that "the country is mired deep in a terrible plague, enigmatic deadly virus and a society split more than ever, as the failures of the government are revealed." Rabin, who served as a lawmaker from 1999 to 2003, added: "I look up, searching for you, and understand that you have long belonged to a different era."

The Knesset will hold a special session Thursday afternoon, attended by Rabin's family members, and on Thursday night there will be a ceremony at the Tel Aviv Square bearing his name, where 25,000 candles will be silently lit in his memory. The ceremony will be closed to the public.

On Saturday night, the Peace Now movement will march from Jerusalem's Zion Square, where the central rally against Rabin was held ahead of his murder, to Paris Square, next to the prime minister's residence. Memorials to the prime minister will continue through next Wednesday, November 4, the date of the murder on the Gregorian calendar.     

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