On the eve of the state memorial commemorating the murder of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authored a social media post in which he rejected efforts by leftists to smear him with responsibility for “rabble rousing” before the murder. At a privately organized memorial event in Tel Aviv last week, Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog slammed Netanyahu, saying that it was incitement from speeches by Netanyahu that set off waves of hateful protests against Rabin and subsequently led to his murder. “The hate today is the same hate as then, the incitement is the same incitement, and the leader is the same leader,” said Herzog, referring to Netanyahu.
But Netanyahu responded with video clips that show him doing the opposite. “The murder of Yitzchak Rabin was a shocking political murder that we all reject,” Netanyahu wrote. “Since that murder there have been repeated attempts to blame the incitement that preceded it on me. Here are some examples of this ‘incitement,’” Netanyahu wrote, introducing the clips.
In one, Netanyahu is seen at a rally in April 1995, seven months before Rabin’s murder, shouting down a crowd that is calling Rabin a traitor. “He is mistaken, he is very mistaken,” Netanyahu said of Rabin’s policy. “But he is not a traitor. No, he is not. We have an argument here with political rivals, not enemies. We are all part of the same nation.”
In a second clip, Netanyahu is seen telling interviewers on Channel Two in August – three months before the murder – that “these insults are aimed at the prime minister of Israel. It does not matter what party he belongs to, he is the prime minister of all Israelis. This is wrong, there is no place for this. I ask those responsible for this activity to stop, because we will expel you from our midst.”
In a third clip, a panel of journalists is seen discussing the murder on Channel Two. Defending Netanyahu is Tommy Lapid, the late father of current political leader Yair Lapid. “If Netanyahu consistently condemned the comments, and said over and over that there was no place for them, you cannot blame him for what you think he really believed,” Lapid told the panel. “You can only talk about what he actually said. And you cannot condemn him for that. Why do you try to make political hay out of this?”
In response, Meretz head Zehava Gal-On said that “once again Netanyahu is condemning his own actions after the fact, and wants us to applaud for him. In last year’s election, he incited against Arabs before the election and rushed to apologize after he won. He can declare how much he was opposed to Rabin’s murder all he wants, but it will not change the fact that he was the big winner who benefited from it.”