Opinion

Blaming Rabin for His Assassination

The calls for 'unity' draw a false equivalence between right and left, as the religious right tightens its grip on Palestinian lands and moves to rebuild the Temple

Israeli Knesset member Yehuda Glick in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
Sebastian Scheiner/AP

My father used to say that the most dangerous types are those with a smile that is “pure olive oil,” citing as a prime example the late Hanan Porat, who had a charming smile, kind eyes and a soft, mellifluous voice, but whose deeds were terrible. He was the father of the settlements in Samaria, the man who laid the foundations for the end of the Third Temple.

Today he has a rival, Yehudah Glick. He too is a handsome, amiable redhead, and he’s even a liberal on a few issues. He, too, has a smile of “pure olive oil.” Sure, he wants to tear down Al Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the Temple in its stead, which would set off Armageddon, but so what? He’s such a nice guy.

This same Yehudah Glick said this week, on the debate over the nature of the Yitzhak Rabin memorial rally, that “it’s not just one camp that needs to say ‘we have sinned, we have transgressed.’ Serious errors were made on the right and on the left that led to the murder. ... And instead of each side pointing to the other as the guilty party, we should join hands in unity and reconciliation and then we can move forward.”

Forward to where? Toward the recognition that the left is to blame. If Rabin hadn’t signed the Oslo Accords, and hadn’t sought a historic peace that involved concessions, he wouldn’t have been murdered. Thus, he is to blame for his death. He basically committed suicide. So we should put aside this trivial event and advance to “unity and reconciliation” with those who incite and who sanction bloodshed, so they can quietly tighten their grip on Palestinian lands and finally build the Temple.

For 22 years, the religious right has been trying to rid itself of the shame of Rabin’s murder. They’ve even developed surreal conspiracy theories according to which it was the Shin Bet security service, not a pathetic coward, “one of theirs,” who shot Rabin, a war hero and hero of Oslo, in the back. Israel Harel, for one (though he is not of the “pure olive oil” type), said at a conference at Kibbutz Sde Eliahu a few months after the murder, that the prime minister’s killer was a “wild weed” from the fringes. “You, as farmers, know that weeds grow at the field’s edge,” Harel told the audience. But Zrubavel Arbel, of Kibbutz Maoz Haim, stood up and addressed Harel: “Young man, I don’t know what kind of farmer you are, but I’ve been a farmer for 50 years, and I’m telling you weeds don’t grow at the edge of the field, they grow near the irrigation valve.” In other words, in the center, where water is abundant. The killer came from the heart of the religious right, he was a student at Bar-Ilan University who liked to spend Shabbat in Hebron. After the murder he said that if it weren’t for the religious rulings of rabbis from the territories, saying “din rodef” and “din moser” applied to Rabin, he wouldn’t have done what he did.

But Yehudah Glick wants to keep claiming that everyone, right and left, were to blame. So why is it that the political assassins have come only from the largely religious right? Take Emil Grunzweig’s killer, Yona Avrushmi; Rabin’s killer (whose name I deliberately omit); the killers from the Jewish underground (15 convicts who were the cream of the settlers); Baruch Goldstein; the Bat Ayin underground; Israel Lederman, Yehuda Richter, Danny Eisenmann, Ami Popper, Eden Natan-Zada, Asher Vizgen, Yaakov Teitel, Yosef Ben-David and the two minors; the killers of Ali Dawabsheh and his parents. Where are their counterparts on the left?

Instead of whitewashing, Mr. “Pure Olive Oil” should press for a criminal investigation of the rabbis who wantonly incited to murder and the settlers who called Rabin “traitor,” implying that he should be hanged. They should also probe the Likud figures, especially Benjamin Netanyahu, who stood on the balcony in Jerusalem’s Zion Square and whipped up the crowd that yelled “murderer Rabin,” “traitor Rabin,” “Nazi Rabin.” David Levy at least left the stage when he heard the calls and saw pictures of Rabin in an SS uniform being burned.

On Saturday night Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square will fill with people who will come to cry over the murdered leader. Glick will not come. He will sit at home, smiling that broad, pure olive oil grin.