Yonatan Ben-Artzi, the grandson of late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, is an “arrogant child” who should be more cognizant of his place, Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich said Monday. “If the Rabin family cannot keep away from politics when its representatives speak at the official state commemoration for the murder of Rabin, then we should consider whether they should be allowed to speak at all. We will get along fine without them.”
As has been the custom over the past 23 years, a representative of the Rabin family has been allowed to speak during the official Knesset session in memory of Rabin, and while in the past speakers have hinted at the “legacy of Rabin” regarding the lack of progress in negotiations with the Palestinians, Ben-Artzi on Tuesday made specific points in his speech relating to the current political situation in Israel, calling Binyamin Netanyahu the “outgoing prime minister,” and urging him to resign.
“Take responsibility for your actions,” Ben-Artzi said. “If there is any suspicion, step aside, resign from your positions, go home and deal with the accusations against you. If you are found innocent, you can return to politics, as Rabin did.” Ben-Artzi was referring to a 1977 scandal in which Rabin was forced to step down as prime minister when it was discovered that he and his wife had an illegal foreign bank account. The election following swept Menachem Begin into office.
Netanyahu himself commented on the speech, saying in a social media post that it was “sad that there are those who would take a memorial service and turn it into a political affair. This only harms the legacy of Yitzchak Rabin. The same thing happened on Motzoei Shabbos, when the memorial for Rabin in Tel Aviv turned into a Blue and White rally.” Netanyahu added that “many people told me in recent days not to come to the official memorial for this very reason, but I said I would come because Rabin was the prime minister of all of us. This is a national event and should be respected.”