Remembering Rabin 1

I have frequently remarked to friends who also grew up in the Diaspora that the way Memorial Day for Yizhak Rabin is marked in Israel has one redeeming feature: It teaches some native-born Israelis how many Diaspora Jews feel during the run-up towards the Christmas season - outsiders. But an American Christmas season with its emphasis on twinkling lights, cheery songs and shopping rush has shed its overtones of menace in a secularized West (the down side is that some Jews insist on being part of the celebrations). The same unfortunately does not apply to Israel, where the Israeli left annually turns Rabin day into an Oberammergau-style passion play. It is used to flay critics of Rabin's Oslo policy and insinuates that they are collectively complicit in Rabinocide, unless they embrace the dogmas of Israel's latter-day "Prince of Peace." Despite the best efforts of the left-controlled media, the hate fest has lately fallen on hard times. Obviously, the population targeted by the manipulative use of Rabin's legacy never bought into it. After the expulsion from Gaza, some have even less patience and hurl back at the left its post-assassination rallying cry - "We won't forget and we won't forgive." Immigrants from the former Soviet Union were instantly repelled by the Rabin personality cult and the attempt to impute collective guilt. This was all too reminiscent of what they had experienced in the Soviet Union. Most importantly, a majority of Israelis presently consider Oslo a major blunder and if Rabin's legacy means celebrating Oslo, instead of warning against the perils of polarization, it had best be forgotten. It is not too late to turn the anniversary of the assassination into something meaningful for all Israelis (even the left concedes the slide towards apathy was not arrested this year), instead of an exercise in political manipulation. This would require the left to abandon its monopoly on the anniversary - something it finds even harder to do than abandoning Oslo. Contributing editor Amiel Ungar is a columnist for the Makor Rishon weekly and the national religious monthly Nekuda. For full story please subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here to subscribe.