A POSTER of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on a wall near his memorial in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On Saturday night, around 300 Israelis shouted slogans against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hoped for the fall of his right-wing coalition; meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu called Rabin’s assassination a “political murder” but contended that he played no role in contributing to incitement that led to his death.
“Bibi always tries to twist the history. He is not loyal to anyone but himself,” said Labor youth movement chairman Yael Sinai at the rally in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Square on Saturday night. “We are here to say that we will not be silent.”
“Rabin’s murder was a political murder, it is shocking, we all condemn it,” Netanyahu stated on his official Facebook page on Saturday. This goes against coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud), who courted controversy last week by saying Rabin’s assassination was “not a political murder.”
Netanyahu continued, saying that there is an “ongoing attempt to distort the historical truth and attribute to me the incitement that preceded the murder.”
MK Erel Margalit responded to Netanyahu, saying that an “inciter remains an inciter. Also today Netanyahu leads wild incitement. So, the inciter was the opposition leader, and today the prime minister is behind the incitement.”
The prime minister has long been lambasted for participating in right-wing rallies before Rabin’s murder, where protesters were inciting against then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. In Jerusalem’s Zion Square, Netanyahu rallied against the Oslo II agreement from a porch overlooking the square. Far-right activists in the crowd were seen inciting against Rabin and holding pictures of him in a Nazi uniform weeks before he was assassinated.
Video from that event in Jerusalem shows that Netanyahu did respond to those calling Rabin a traitor; however, many on the left contend that Netanyahu did not do enough to condemn incitement and instead fanned the flames.
“Everyone knows the truth: Bibi and right-wing leaders were a part of the incitement,” said Labor party activist Tuval Bar Yochai at the protest. “We are here to protest against the right-wing regime that has led to a state of war and collision between nations – we need a two-state solution,” Bar Yochai added.
Some at the rally saw Donald Trump’s presidential victory as a reason for Israeli and American protesters to unite against their respective leaders. “We are concerned by Trump and inspired by the protests in the US. I feel we need to fight for the future,” said Yashar Marmer of the Socialist Struggle Movement.
Nevertheless, Sinai thinks that neither Trump’s victory nor a right-wing government in Israel spells danger for Israel’s left-wing movements. “My generation is not afraid. My generation is upset and wants to fight for a good future.”