Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union addresses a conference in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Current Zionist Union MK and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni said on Saturday at a cultural event in Mevaseret Zion that Yitzhak Rabin's memorial will be held on Saturday evening to "remind everyone" that Israel is a democracy under threat and needs to be fought for.
"The assembly tonight [Yitzhak Rabin memorial] is to remind everyone that here [in Israel] is a democracy and we need to fight for it. The hatred that came before Rabin's murder - is still present today in Israel and there is a need to stop it," Livni said.
The comments came amid the Israeli public broadcasting controversy in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wishes to close the Israel Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) which has been seen by many as a way for the premier to silence opposition. Livni stated that "it's not two different stories, the media and the legal system - it is part of a greater trend."
"We need to remember the incitement that occurred, to look at what is happening today - and to fight against it," Livni stated. She said that "Bayit Yehudi and the Likud, which are caught up in [the incitement], understand that in order to hold onto all of Judea and Samaria, with 2.5 million Palestinians - people need to forget that there is a democracy. The government wants to come to a situation in which there will be no one to stop them, not the High Court of Justice, not legal advisors and not the free media. Therefore we need to come to the [Rabin] Square today."
The organizers of an annual public memorial for Rabin announced Sunday that the event would not be held due to an inability to raise the funds needed. This is the first time since Rabin was murdered 21 years ago that the event has been cancelled. The artists and celebrities participate for free, however expenses such as security need to be covered.
Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog, announced that his Labor party, once led by Rabin, would hold its own memorial following the announcement of the cancellation.
“It should also be noted that the rally was always the responsibility of private and external bodies, but that since this involves the murder of our leader, former Labor leader Yitzhak Rabin, we insist on conducting an alternative rally, taking into account the time constraints and conditions," Herzog's statement read.
JTA and Gil Hoffman contributed to this article.