No Absolution

If Yitzhak Rabin had a heritage, it is the complete opposite of the heritage of Ariel Sharon. Sharon's corruption and incitement must not be forgotten.

If Yitzhak Rabin's family forgave Ariel Sharon and consider him to be hewing to the path of the assassinated prime minister - that is its right. There are no more faithful custodians of a person's heritage than his own family. All the same, I do not share their sentiments. So when Sharon is invited to speak at all of the functions marking the assassination's tenth anniversary, I will make known my reservations.

In this season of forgiveness and mercy, between Yom Kippur and November 4th, we are most vigorously challenged: Why shouldn't you forgive Sharon for what he did, and maybe even apologize to him? After all, he is now doing your work for you, as if you were righteous sages.

There is no way to know for certain where Sharon will go from here, after the disengagement, but we do know with utter certainty where he has come from and what he is leaving for us in his wake. It is our prime minister who, more than any other person in Israel, through the various positions he has held, in and out of uniform, laid the foundations for the culture of lies, apostasy, corruption and deception.

Sharon paved his way through life while misleading his superiors, from David Ben-Gurion to Menachem Begin, and through them, the entire public. Ben-Gurion already said about him half a century ago: "If he could rid himself of the liability of not speaking the truth and stay away from gossip, he would be an exemplary military leader." Later on, Begin complained that he at times learned about Sharon's actions in the field only after their commission. The Lebanon War was happily rolling along like a snowball until Sharon was compelled to resign after the massacre in Sabra and Chatila. Similarly, he would not have managed to spread his settlements under every tree had he not established them as a contrived ruse.

Sharon never really recognized the supremacy of elected institutions and systematically denied the existence of democracy. Whenever he had a problem with the policy of the government or the legislature, he called on his loyal friends, especially the settlement leaders, to peremptorily disregard previously agreed-upon decisions and instructions, to bypass army roadblocks and invade the hilltops.

Sharon raised corruption to a new level of artistry. It has always been here and has destroyed some fine assets, but it never threatened to destroy the finest of these assets. During his administration, it has been exhibited in especially bold individual and family colors. The public sees, and follows suit.

And the incitement: No one has the ability to incite and to lead astray like Sharon, and his appearance on the balcony in Zion Square will be to his everlasting ignominy. It is too bad that the balcony did not collapse under him on that accursed evening. After the Oslo Accords, he accused the left of "collaborating with the enemy to lead it to Tel Aviv, as well." Less than two months before the Rabin assassination, when death threats against the prime minister were increasing, Sharon dismissed the danger, belittling it: "Perhaps it is the paranoia of leaders in decline. One mustn't compare, but does anyone here remember the blood libels of Stalin, through which he carried out the `great purges'? He wiped out the old leadership and the top brass of the Red Army, he liquidated Jewish men of letters. It all began then with `news reports' or `assessments' about supposed intentions to assassinate the tyrant ... Where are they leading us with the new libel they are spreading?" (A column by Sharon that appeared in Maariv on September 13, 1995).

On June 5, 1995, five months before the assassination, Sharon wrote in Hayarden: "The government is already handing over the settlers to the armed Palestinian gangs. They have already handed over Jews to foreigners in the past ... Being an informer and expelling Jews is part of the spiritual existence of the Israeli left ... Members of Peace Now and its satellites are spiritually closer to PLO murderers than to you, the people of Judea-Samaria and Gaza ... Remember the saison [when members of the mainstream leftist underground, the Haganah, turned members of rightist underground groups over to the British during the Mandate], don't forget the Altalena."

Ecce homo. And the open notebook is not ready to be closed, and the hand that recorded this testimony is ready to continue writing. The disengagement from Gaza need not and cannot expunge or make us forget. True, he uprooted settlements 35 years late, and that will be noted to his historic credit. But who is powerful enough to uproot the lying and corruption, the apostasy and the incitement that have settled into our lives and which infect them?

One good and proper act does not rewrite a bad and deceitful biography, nor will the withdrawal raise from their graves the thousands of vain sacrifices, whose lives were lost in unneeded battles stirred up by Sharon. For these three sins of Sharon, and for four, he must not be forgiven, for reasons of values and morality and as an educational lesson.

In the past year, in the face of all his adversaries, I on several occasions was concerned about him, about Sharon. I had compassion for him and even had pity on him. But not for one moment did I forgive him. If Yitzhak Rabin had a heritage, it is the complete opposite of the heritage of Ariel Sharon. I only fear that the Sharon heritage is more resilient to the immunizations in our inventory, and even "emergency deployment" can no longer prevent the plague. The attitude toward Sharon is not, then, dictated by an accounting of the past, but rather a fear of the future. And the future is already here.