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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

False legacy

Some of you may wonder why anyone here cares about clearing Yitzchak Rabin's convicted assassin Yigal Amir. He seems resigned to staying in jail the rest of his life, so why raise questions about his trial and conviction? To understand that, you have to understand the cottage industry that has grown up around the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin z"l. Even many people here do not understand it.

Yitzchak Rabin was a hero of the generation that established the State of Israel. During the War of Independence, he commanded the Harel Brigade, which cleared the blockaded road into Jerusalem. In the Six Day War, he was the Chief of Staff, the position held by Dan Halutz today (On the whole, Rabin performed considerably better than Halutz has). As a politician, Rabin was known as a "bit-chonist," a military man who had no religious attachment to the areas of Israel that were liberated in the Six Day War, but who believed that retaining them was necessary to Israel's security. (Both Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon were tagged the same way until they reached the office of the Prime Minister). It was only in the last two years of his life, when the 'Oslo accords' were presented to him as a fait accomplis by Shimon Peres and his proteges (who had violated Israeli law at the time by negotiating with the PLO in the first place) that he suddenly became a peacenik. It is highly questionable whether Rabin would have continued with the Olso process given what came after his death. There have been many here who have argued that Rabin would have put a stop to it when the suicide bombings started in late 1995 and early 1996.

Since Rabin's death, each year on his yahrtzeit, we are treated to a leftist festival under the guise of lessons in 'Rabin's legacy'. The 'legacy' begins on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993 - nothing comes before that date. No mention of Rabin the war hero. No mention of Rabin the bit-chonist. Just Oslo, Oslo, Oslo. The first year after his death, everyone participated in the memorials. There was a siren and a moment of silence, as there is every year on Holocaust Day and Remembrance Day (like Memorial Day in the US except it's the day before Independence Day). But as the years have passed, more and more of the right and religious have abandoned the ceremonies. They don't speak to us (if they ever did) - they speak against us.

One good description of the ambivalence many religious Jews feel is this article which appeared in HaAretz last week:
- An alternative reality. A survey by Gesher and the Mutagim Institute provided additional proof this week that when it comes to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the religious and secular publics live in alternative realities. According to the survey, only 39 percent of the public believes that Rabin's murder was the most divisive event in the history of the nation, as compared to 48 percent who believe that the disengagement from Gaza was the most divisive event. But the truly fascinating findings are those that examine the responses with respect to the level of religious observance of those polled: Only 9 percent of the ultra-Orthodox and 22 percent of the Orthodox believe that the assassination of Rabin was the most divisive event in Israel's history, as compared to 46 percent of secular Jews. On the other hand, over 60 percent of the ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox believe that the disengagement was the most divisive event (as compared to 41 percent of the secular public).


- They're not talking about it now. It's quite clear that the anniversary of Rabin's assassination is a secular "festival." Had there not been for the wholesale blaming of the entire religious community for the murder, says sociologist Menahem Friedman, "perhaps a different atmosphere would have been created, and they would have entered the circle. But from the beginning it started off badly." Friedman adds that in his synagogue they don't talk about the anniversary of Rabin's murder.

The left's Rabin assassination ritual, wrote Nadav Shragai in Haaretz, has several components, including casting blame for the murder on the entire national-religious community, presentation of the viewpoints of the extreme left as the Rabin legacy, although he was a centrist, and discussion of the Oslo Accords, "which sowed terror, bereavement and blood, and are now presented as the hope for all posterity." The result, wrote Shragai, is that half the nation has developed a sense of alienation toward the Rabin anniversary, and even disgust at its contents.

Nor do people people discuss the event in the synagogue of Haaretz reporter Yair Sheleg, author of the book "Hadatiyim hahadashim" ("The New Religious Jews"; in Hebrew). On the one hand, says Sheleg, the national-religious community felt "anger at the fact that it was excluded from the mourning, and there was a desire to participate in it as a kind of rehabilitation. On the other hand, the exclusion served as a type of excuse for not dealing with it. Otherwise, it would have been possible to conduct mourning events for the religious public, and they didn't really feel like doing so."
In that same book by Sheleg, I am told, he proves that tens of thousands of formerly religious Jews have abandoned their religious observance in whole or in part out of imputed 'guilt' over the Rabin murder. That would not be surprising.

When I see posts like this one, which was on another blog last week, from an apparently relatively new immigrant, that claimed that attendance at the Rabin memorial was "From all walks of Israeli life – the old and the young, the right and the left, the hippie and the straight laced…all there to remember one man and one legacy..." I realize that many of you don't understand or appreciate how divisive the event is here - eleven years after the fact, nor how divisive it is likely to continue to be as long as many people feel that the murder is unresolved.

I also realize that unless and until the religious community can remove the scarlett letter that has been placed on all of us by the left, young religious Jews may continue to abandon the fold. For that reason alone, it is worth the effort to continue to try to clear Amir's name. I can live with discomfort. I cannot live with a desecration of God's name.


At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it is true that many "left the fold" because of imputed guilt then, being that exactly what the secular humanists want, they will make sure to hammer on it even more.

Trying to clear Amir is nearly impossible but stressing and exposing the plot (it's all the religious' fault) could acomplish something, imo.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Calev-Ben-David said...

Hey Carl, contact David Rutstein in Jerusalem. According to David, the Rabin murder fraud is over. The only thing stopping it from blowing up is that the secular are confused and afraid. The religous are now at a point where it "may" be better to keep the lie going because the fraud is known by so many that the fraud no longer causes Jews to leave the religion. We may be seeing the effects of people going towards religion becuase of the corruption of the State of Israel is so well known.

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the writer of the post you cited, I felt it incumbent on myself to clarify my position. I believe you and I are in fact on the same page.

Indeed, one of the points of my piece was to highlight the fact that the left have hijacked Rabin's legacy, and are using it to resurrect a process that should have long been put to bed...in my opinion. As you say Rabin did not begin and end with Oslo.

Despite this fact many religious and right wing Israelis did attend the ceremony. These people came for the same reason as me....to remember the man...not the process.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The man did not do a good deed. I believe to this very day, negotiating with the PLO was a betrayal of Israel's national consensus and it brought Hamas and Fatah right up to Israel's doorstep. There was no terrorism and no national divisions before 1993. A government that lied, deceived and stole Israel's heritage neither deserves forgiveness nor remembrance. Let's remember the real Rabin legacy and not the one Israel's Left likes to present to the world.


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