There are some advantages in being a has-been. No one can take that title away from you, and there are those who work to sustain our honor: the union of former MKs, a union with a chairman, a secretary and even a room at the Knesset.
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I receive current reports and invitations to special events: ceremonies marking the opening of Knesset sessions, the presidents speech in the plenary, the Knessets birthday and other festive occasions worthy of raising a toast. Of course, there are also commemorations for the nations prominent figures, who passed on either quietly or in less dignified manner.
So far Ive sent my regrets, but its good to know that one is not forgotten after retiring. Perhaps 33 years of service were enough to wean me from any desire to renew my days of glory. At my age, one must be inoculated against becoming pathetic before the arrival of winter.
As I do each year, this year I also received a double invitation in the same envelope: the Knesset Speaker and the head of the ex-MKs union invited us to attend a ceremony marking the 20-year memorial of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and the 14-year memorial of the murder of Rehavam Zeevi.
Here you have an assassinated duo with close anniversaries, with a legislated day of remembrance that is meant to instill their legacy in schools and the military: One bequeathed the Oslo path, the other the road to transfer. Its already clear which path weve chosen. First we transfer Arab workers from Jewish centers of population, and then the MKs from the Joint Arab List from the Prime Ministers Bureau.
The special session devoted to the memory of Tourism Minister and MK Zeevi (Gandhi) was held 10 days ago. You didnt notice since it was sparsely reported in these troubled times. This column will fill in what you missed.
The prime minister begged the familys forgiveness. He came from a cabinet meeting, to which he had to rush back. I have to be brief in order to return to my labors, he said. This is, Im convinced, what our beloved Gandhi would have done as well, since today, more than ever, the deceased must serve as an example. Who but he could discern the roots of terrorism and tear them out? If only he were with us, that man of principle, integrity and consistency, an object of admiration and inspiration, in the words of Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Yitzhak Herzogs speech also featured the longings of the abandoned for the esteemed figure with his military demeanor, and sorrow at his absence, particularly in these hectic, murderous days.
Now, with historical perspective, we can say that Zeevi is more relevant to the reality of our lives and deaths than was Rabin, with his unwanted peace overtures. Although the memorial service was brief, the legacy of transfer is growing, creeping like a shadow into every street corner. The heirs of Yitzhak are diminishing while those of Gandhi are multiplying, filling the Knesset, the government and the bus stations.
Naftali Bennett is also a typical disciple. He was seen this week walking around the country toting a handgun, ready for a quick draw and photo-op. Earlier ministers of education were shamed – once there were suspender-wearing Zalmans here, who raised generations of confused students.
Two buddies from the Palmach set out, as the song goes, and then – bang, bang, bang, three shots and it was all over. One of those friends is missed more than ever these days. Zeevi-in has been luckier than Rabin-out. The first one was murdered by an Arab, so everything is clear and simple. The second one was murdered by a Jew, and that doesnt suit us or the times, evoking conspiracy theories believed by hundreds of thousands of Israelis.
This is how an epic story is constructed: Every nation assembles the stories of its brave shaheeds, glorifying those who fraternized with murderers and organized crime lords.
When one is in need of a hero, rotten and shameful characters are summoned. Not a word about the Greater Land of Israel that is purchased in crime.
Next week, theyll be invited to the podium again, the same eulogizers. Those who marched before the coffin of Rabin in 1995 will walk behind it in 2015.