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The Real Reason Why Netanyahu Skipped Rabin's Annual Memorial

Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer

In the days and weeks after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in November 1995, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu had only one aim: to try to salvage his legitimacy as a mainstream politician.

Many were accusing him of having conducted a chorus of incitement against the slain prime minister that had led to his murder, and overnight he plummeted in the polls. While before he had been slightly ahead, now he was trailing Rabin’s successor, Shimon Peres, by nearly 30 percentage points (this was during the short period in which Israel was experimenting with direct elections for prime minister). Senior Likud members were already planning to replace him as party leader, reckoning that he had become too toxic to ever lead the party to victory.

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