Bintel Blog

Controversy Over Rabin Memorial

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

There’s something of a tug-of-war developing over the annual anniversary rally for assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for the event, 14 years and a week after he was killed (it was delayed because of the rain last Saturday).

Attended by politicians from three of the five biggest Knesset factions, Labor, Kadima, and Likud, it was seen by some as the coming-of-age of an event that was once a show of strength of the traditional peace camp. Likud lawmaker and education minister Gideon Saar declared from the podium that rightists have been “pushed out of the mourning tent for too long” and said that the time has come for everybody to mourn Rabin together.

Saar sees the county, and the event, as nationalizing Rabin’s memory, some see this as a cop out. Voices from the left are claiming that making the rally less political may make it more inclusive, but say that it’s coming at a cost of Rabin’s legacy.

The veteran peace activist Uri Avnery, who passed messages between Rabin and Yasser Arafat before contacts were out in the open, wrote ahead of the rally that Rabin will “turn in his grave.”

He wrote: “The main speakers will be two of the gravediggers of the Oslo agreement, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, as well as Tzipi Livni and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who belonged to the forces that created the climate for the murder.”

Avnery’s closing line was: “Will I be there? Not me, thank you very much.”

Unlike Avnery Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy went along and was deeply unimpressed. He penned this highly critical article, in which he asked:

Whose speech was emptier, that of Shimon Peres or Ehud Barak? Maybe Tzipi Livni’s? It’s hard to tell. It was a tight match, in which the winner will have to be determined on points. Finally, the president won. “Those who despair do not win and those who win do not despair,” Peres said, adding that an imperfect peace is better than perfect war. He also said that peace is made when there is no peace. Finally, he said the next year will be the year of decision, like they say every year.

Ynet published a similarly biting piece about the rally by Ziv Lenchner, in which he writes that:

The rally at Rabin square deserves the following definition: A public show of support for the commandment “thou shalt not murder.” It is indeed a matter of some public importance, but nothing beyond it. The rally is no more than a slogan-filled ceremony with little significance espousing obvious values that any sane person would endorse, sort of like a similar ceremony at school.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Titzhak Rabin, Tel Aviv

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.