23 Years Later, Left Still Sees Netanyahu as Culprit in Rabin Killing

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yigal Amir, during his trial at the High Court, in 2005. (Flash90)

Sunday marks the day the state officially remembers former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who was killed in 1995 by an assassin’s bullet – and in a ceremony hosted Sunday by President Reuven Rivlin, Yonatan Ben-Artzi, Rabin’s grandson, took the opportunity to blast Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and some of his policies, especially the Nation-State Law.

“Hatred for others was never part of our makeup,” Ben-Artzi said. “The Jewish people never tried to prove its superiority over others by making others lower than us. We only wanted to live in peace, and we embraced those who did so. The effort to make one Israeli superior over another is unacceptable,” he said, referring to the Nation-State Law, which makes Jewish education and settlement a national priority, without subtracting from the civil rights of others.

Ben-Artzi lashed out at Netanyahu as well. “Israelis deserve leadership that is concerned with their needs, and does not get ‘bored’ with those needs,” he said, referring to a comment Netanyahu made at a heckler in Kiryat Shemona last week. “This leadership encourages separation and incites against anyone who does not think like it, and catalogs them as either a leftist or a ‘sourpuss,’” another pejorative Netanyahu used against the heckler. “If he continues in this way he will bring about the destruction of the ‘third commonwealth,’” the modern state of Israel, Ben-Artzi said, calling for term limits for prime ministers.

Earlier Sunday, Eran Hermoni, director of the Labor Party, used the occasion of the Rabin commemoration to revive the canard that Netanyahu was responsible, at least in part, for the incitement against Rabin. “How ironic that today, as we mark the murder of Rabin, Netanyahu is celebrating his 69th birthday,” Hermoni wrote in a social media post. “As one who was there and remembers everything that happened 23 years ago, I think the time has come for Netanyahu to apologize and take responsibility for his role. He must apologize for the incitement, the protests, and the rest of it that led to this horrible political murder.”

Rabin was gunned down on the evening of November 6, 1995, at the central Tel Aviv square renamed for him (formerly Kings of Israel Square) by Yigal Amir, a college student who was convicted of killing the Prime Minister. It was later alleged that much of the incitement of Amir was conducted by former Shin Bet agent Avishai Raviv, who many believe “managed” Amir and set him on the path of murdering Rabin. He was tried in 2000 on charges that he knew Amir was going to shoot Rabin and that he did nothing to prevent it, but he was exonerated of that charge in a trial.