Wednesday marked the 16th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death, according to the Hebrew calendar, and people in Israel have been mourning the former prime minister all week. But, as we reported last year, interest in the anniversary is waning, raising concerns among some that the warning against political incitement that is implicit in the story of the Rabin tragedy is being lost. It’s been a remarkable irony, then, that as the mainstream population takes less notice of the anniversary, the small group of far-rightists who really catapulted it to center stage seem to admire Rabin’s assassin. The story that ensured the assassination stayed in the press this year was the spraying of a graffiti message on the home of a Peace Now leader that read, “Rabin is waiting” for her. Thank you bigoted crazies for reminding the nation just how objectionable your message is, and how the story of the Rabin assassination is still so relevant.
This year’s anniversary also brought with it some disturbing polling. Some 39% of Israel’s Jewish citizens think that another politically motivated murder could come before the end of 2011 — 8% consider the possibility “very high” and 31% think it is “high.” One dreads to think what the results may have been if respondents were asked to take a one-year or five-year view.