We Can't Pretend Any Longer: Rabin's Way Is Deserted

Fifteen years later we can't pretend any longer: Rabin's enemies have shaken off responsibility, and his partners and successors have also betrayed him.

That will be the last rally; I won't miss it. The organizing committee fears embarrassment and the day isn't far off when Rabin Square will no longer fill up.

The square is liable to become emptied of people, the stage has already become emptied of content. Although the speakers continue to ascend one after the other, clutching prepared notes, they don't have much to say. It's over. Because the words and the slogans are repeated from year to year, they also become irrelevant.

Will they once again address him trembling and in second person - you, Yitzhak - swear allegiance to him, promise him that his path has not died, and that we're continuing? Will they once again recount the grief of the left and sing its self pity?

Fifteen years later we can't pretend any longer: It was a perfect crime that paid off - a man was murdered and his legacy was covered with blood. Rabin's way is deserted, in mourning. Not only have his enemies shaken off responsibility, his partners and successors have also betrayed him, gone to collect the scraps from other tables.

When was the last time that they came to the defense of his, and their, Oslo Accords, which they are dooming to eternal disgrace, though the agreements are still inevitable.

True, they aren't perfect deals, they have holes in them. Does anyone suggest going back through the time and the Western Wall tunnels to the Stone Age, when Israelis and Palestinians didn't not recognize one another, and there is no rapprochement between them?

Even inside the house there is already someone who is fed up with Rabin and his oppressive memory, "which in the eyes of many symbolizes a missed opportunity." Someobdy is demanding that his picture be removed from the memorial wall and relegated to the cellar of oblivion at party headquarters. And how does the party chairman react to the idea? "He only listened, he said it's interesting."

Thirteen years ago I initiated the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day Law. At the time I thought it was self evident, indispensable. Today I admit my mistake: It's an unnecessary and even harmful law. It's not right to use legislation to impose a day of pain and anger and horror on those who don't feel as I do. Why force those who scorn him all year long to honor him one day a year?

There is no point in pretending when the legal obligation does not accord with people's innermost feelings. Saying one thing and believing another is message that doesn't teach anything. So no favors and no gestures imposed by the legislator, nobody is being forced: Those who choose to remember will remember and remind others, those who choose to forget, and mainly to make others forget - are exempt from their obligation.

Exempt hereby are all those who from the first day of the disaster have been claiming: They aren't allowing us to mourn, because they are badmouthing and accusing us too. Exempt are those who since then have been developing conspiracy theories and giving them space in the public sphere, including the owners of the settler radio station Arutz Sheva, its broadcasters and many of its listeners.

Exempt are those who are willing to have a proper Rabin Day but without Rabin, to decry the crime but without the victim. Exempt are those who agree to recall the Rabin of the wars and to erase his memory as a peacemaker and as someone who was willing to give peace a chance. Exempt are all those who refuse to this day to take even the smallest measure of responsibility, as though one man fired and there weren't other people around him who marked the target for him.

In recent years I have stopped going to Rabin square; reunions depress me. Since the time when David Grossman blushed - as in his good days, as in his bad days - Rabin himself seems to me to be bored to death by metaphors, he too was always fatigued by them during his lifetime.

He has gradually become gray, his voice has changed, his facial features have crumbled. I had difficulty recognizing him. That's not the Rabin that I knew and learned to love.