Navigate to News section

Israel to Mark 14th Anniversary of Rabin Assassination

But at both far ends of political spectrum, memories aren’t so fond

Ari M. Brostoff
October 30, 2009
Rabin at the White House with President Bill Clinton, 1995.(Robert Giroux/AFP/Getty Images)
Rabin at the White House with President Bill Clinton, 1995.(Robert Giroux/AFP/Getty Images)

A rally in Tel Aviv was scheduled to take place tomorrow night, marking the 14-year anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination—but stormy weather has led organizers to postpone the event, at which Labor and Kadima party leaders will speak, until next weekend. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports, members of the religious Zionist movement are struggling with how to commemorate Rabin’s death. On the one hand, they resent being linked by the Israeli left to assassin Yigal Amir, who counted himself among them; on the other, they don’t remember Rabin, co-creator of the Oslo accords, too fondly. The chief rabbi of the town of Safed told the paper he’s “sick of it all. Every year about this time there is a concerted effort to ram Rabin’s legacy down our throat.” That sentiment is apparently shared by a group of right-wing activists who, according to Arutz Sheva, distributed fliers to non-religious schools that read, “Despite our principled stand against murder and intra-Jewish violence, it is clear to all that the message at memorials of this type is not one of remembering Rabin the individual, but rather his so-called ‘legacy.’” (The news network notes that both the right and the left have chosen to forget that Rabin favored the creation of a “Palestinian entity … that is less than a state,” and that he envisioned permanent settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.)

Abroad, Guardian columnist Seth Freedman recalls being a student at a London Jewish day school when Rabin was killed, and teachers framing his assassination as “not the Jewish way … let the unenlightened and barbaric Arab states around us settle their differences via the sword.” While “Judaism certainly does not allow for such base behavior,” Freedman writes, viewing the murder “as a one-off aberration rather than the culmination of years of incitement and provocation was to take a dangerously out-of-context view of the event, and—by continuing to do so even today—those making such assertions run the risk of similar attacks being carried out in the future.”

Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.