Rabin memorial 248 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )
Thirteen years after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, both the Left and the Right have embraced a single corrosive motto: "Never forget, never forgive." If they persist, our Zionist enterprise is at risk.
The Left appropriated Rabin's memory, distanced it from the nation as a whole, and exploited it for partisan ends. Rabin's murder was held over the heads of everyone who opposed Oslo.
The Right closed its mind to the possibility that, maybe, just maybe, even if unintentionally, its leaders said things that contributed to the atmosphere which set the stage for the killing.
Time has not healed our nations wounds. Instead, we've spent the past 13 years locked into "never forget, never forgive."
In the time leading up to the murder, Israel was riven by political strife and buffeted by Arab violence. Who remembers that just days before he was killed, Rabin declared that any final deal with the PLO would have to include settlement blocs? Who recalls that it was president Ezer Weizman who challenged the legitimacy of the Oslo II accords, telling Israel Radio: "This is not an agreement. It was passed by one-vote majority. And if that vote hadn't received a Mitsubishi there would not be an agreement."
If only we could turn back the clock. If only Yigal Amir had been apprehended on the night of November 4, 1995, before Rabin finished his address to 100,000 supporters at what was then called Kikar Malchei Yisrael.
It was not to be.
On the morning after the assassination, this newspaper carried a front-page editorial: "The shock is universal. No Israeli, no Jew, no decent human being anywhere can help being shaken to the core, shattered to the depth of his and her soul by the news...
"If the Jewish nation is again unlucky, Rabin's death ...may well be remembered as a blow from which Israel has not recovered... But if the nation is more fortunate ... and reason prevails, the assassination will serve as a reminder that internal violence in the most dangerous enemy...."
We cannot say that reason has prevailed, though it could have. On the day of Rabin's funeral, Rabbi Avraham Shapira, a guiding authority of Gush Emunim, called Amir a murderer lacking in Jewish morality.
Yigal Amir's mother disowned him. The Council of Jewish settlements in Judea Samaria and Gaza rejected him and those who embraced him. Most of Rabin's opponents were genuinely stunned, even broken-hearted.
Yet, from the start, a minority of extremists termed the killing "heavenly retribution."
Exacerbating tensions, his grieving widow blamed not only the killer, but all opponents of Oslo. "There definitely was incitement which was strongly absorbed and found itself a murderer, who did this because he felt he had the support of a broad public with an extremist approach..."
THAT THE Left lacked magnanimity in no way absolves the Right today from excommunicating those fanatics - a small minority of the pro-settler universe - who practice violence or preach perfidy.
A process of demonization is taking place before our eyes. The government - whatever its many faults - and our army are denigrated as "un-Jewish." We watched in shock as Kiryat Arba rabbi Dov Lior compared the actions of the IDF in dismantling the Federman home to the behavior of Nazi soldiers in occupied Poland.
Who on the Right will denounce the rabbi's words?
In recent weeks, masked, rock-throwing, Jewish youths have fought with our soldiers. Who on the Right will denounce this despicable behavior?
We hear that radical parents are teaching their children that IDF soldiers sent to take down illegal structures aren't "real" Jews. Extremists have launched "revenge attacks" against Arabs. Others have prayed for IDF soldiers to be captured, defeated, even killed. Mercifully, at least this has been condemned.
Let no one on the Right wince when security officials warn that an atmosphere is being created that makes another political murder possible.
No matter how passionately Israelis disagree, no matter how high the stakes, we absolutely must contend with one another exclusively within the political arena.
Those determined to wage war on a different plain - imbued by the delusion that they are the last of the Jews - must be socially, politically and religiously isolated first and foremost by supporters of the settlement enterprise.
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