Turning the Anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s Death into an Opportunity for Political Potshots https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2018/10/turning-the-anniversary-of-yitzhak-rabins-death-into-an-opportunity-for-political-potshots/

October 24, 2018 | Liel Leibovitz
About the author: Liel Leibovitz, a journalist, media critic, and video-game scholar, is a senior writer for the online magazine Tablet.

Two of Yitzḥak Rabin’s grandchildren spoke at a memorial service for their grandfather, held in Jerusalem on Sunday, the Hebrew-calendar anniversary of his assassination. For both, the occasion offered a chance to issue veiled and not-so-veiled attacks on the current prime minister—who was in attendance—and the Likud in general. Liel Leibovitz comments:

[Rabin’s granddaughter, Noa] Rothman, wasn’t content merely portraying Israel as a close cousin of Enver Hoxha’s Albania; looking straight at Benjamin Netanyahu, she accused an unnamed spokeswoman at his office of recently tweeting a photograph of Rabin shaking Yasir Arafat’s hand with a caption accusing the slain statesman of treason.

It’s a common theme among the Virtuous Vanguards of Tel Aviv. Ask any Israeli journalist, academic, or intellectual who killed Rabin, and they’ll tell you that while Yigal Amir pulled the trigger, it was Netanyahu who made the murder possible by inciting his followers to see Rabin as a traitor. That Netanyahu himself was caught on camera on one well-documented occasion beseeching the crowd at a large demonstration in Jerusalem to refrain from using the T word, or that he had asked Rabin, shortly before the assassination, to issue a joint statement calling for civility—an offer Rabin refused—hardly matters. Nor did it matter to Rothman that the alleged spokeswoman was not a government employee but an independent journalist, or that her tweet was a clearly marked bit of satire. But, again, why let facts get in a way of a really good story? . . .

Rabin’s assassination is one of very few national symbols most Israelis still cherish, irrespective of their political opinion. It is seen as a perpetual call for national unity, a legacy that helped keep Israeli society cohesive even as his successors, including Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, and Ariel Sharon, continued to make painful territorial concessions in the face of rising Palestinian violence. In their ugly, divisive, and vicious comments yesterday, Rabin’s grandchildren sacrificed all that for the sake of settling cheap partisan scores. What a blessing it is that most Israelis know better.

Read more on Tablet: https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/272990/yitzhak-rabins-annual-memorial-service-turns-ugly

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