Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed reservations Saturday evening about his son Yair’s verbal attacks on late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
On Friday Yair Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that “Rabin murdered Holocaust survivors on the Altalena” and that he “caused the deaths of 2,000 Israelis.”
In a statement, the prime minister said: “I don’t agree with my son Yair’s statements on Yitzhak Rabin. Yair’s positions are his alone.”
“Rabin broke the law by delivering lectures in America while he was a public servant, earning a fortune,” Yair posted on his Twitter account. “When he was found out he framed his wife and fixed it in a chat with Aharon Barak,” an apparent reference to the affair that led to Rabin’s de facto resignation as prime minister in 1977, when an illegal U.S. bank account in the name of his wife, Leah Rabin, was discovered.
“Rabin murdered Holocaust survivors on the Altalena,” a weapons ship of the pre-state right-wing Irgun militia that the Israel Defense Forces shelled. Rabin brought [then-PLO leader Yasser] Arafat and tens of thousands of terrorists from Tunisia and caused the deaths of 2,000 Israelis.” The post was later deleted.
Yair’s remarks rocked the Israeli political establishment. Rabin’s son, Yuval Rabin, wrote on his own Twitter account: “I didn’t believe him. To determine that Rabin murdered Holocaust survivors is a direct continuation of the poster of Rabin in an SS uniform,” referring to a notorious image of Rabin that was distributed in the months leading up to his assassination in November 1995. “Don’t say you didn’t see it. Perhaps this time, the attorney general will act against those who incite?
Labor Party-Gesher Chairman Amir Peretz said earlier that he had instructed the party’s legal advisers to prepare a libel suit against Yair Netanyahu. As someone who is responsible for Rabin’s legacy and as his successor, I won’t allow the tarnishing of the legacy of an Israeli hero in war and in peace,” Peretz said. “I’ll fight for his path and I won’t allow the sick ideas of sick people to rewrite history and sully the reputation of the party and myself.”
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In the wake of Yair Netanyahu’s remarks, Labor-Gesher held a protest at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square that drew around 100 participants.
“The Netanyahu family never left the balcony,” Peretz told the crowd, referring to Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance at Jerusalem’s Zion Square a few weeks before the assassination. “Yigal Amir won’t murder another person. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. But many Yigal Amirs are reading the tweets, hearing very clearly the absence of reservations [expressed by] their leader, the father, and understand what they must do.”