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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Israel's national obsession

Each year it seems to start earlier and end later.

On November 4, 1995, corresponding to the 12th day of the Jewish month of Heshvan 5755, Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. A young, religious law student from Bar Ilan University named Yigal Amir was arrested on the spot for the crime. Within a short period of time, he had been tried and convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison. Last year, I did a summary of the assassination complete with video evidence - for those who have not seen it, you can find it here. That post, and several others I did last year at this time, got me labeled as a 'conspiracy theorist' and got me banned as a contributor on a group blog. (As an aside, I am pleased to tell you that my TTLB ranking is now higher than that group blog's ranking, thanks to all of you who link my posts). Bottom line: I believe that a decent criminal lawyer could have gotten Amir a plea bargain on reduced charges - maybe he could have gotten him off entirely. Amir didn't have a decent criminal lawyer - they barely found a stooge to take his case.

In the early years after the Rabin assassination, the 'Memorial Day' (which was celebrated on the 11th of Heshvan because the ignoramuses who set it up didn't even know that the Jewish date changes at sunset) became a battle ground for "Rabin's heritage" ("Moreshet Rabin"). The government attempted to force schools to teach the left's definition of Rabin's heritage - that Oslo would have led to peace and that Yigal Amir murdered the 'peace process.' This was even true during Binyamin Netanyahu's term as Prime Minister. Netanyahu was (and still is) continuously accused of 'inciting' against Rabin due to the distribution of the poster pictured at top left at a Likud rally shortly before the assassination. Months later, it came out that the poster was drawn up and distributed by one Avishai Raviv, a General Security Service agent who was hanging around with the assassin, Yigal Amir. Raviv, by the way, has never been tried or convicted of anything. The General Security Service is under the direct command of the Prime Minister - Yitzchak Rabin at the time. That's yet another mystery that has never been explained. Raviv is the guy in the dark jacket in the picture on the right; Amir is the guy behind him wearing jeans and a sweater.

After the Oslo War (which most of you probably know as the intifadeh) started in 2000, people on the right began opposing the forced brainwashing about Oslo that went with the politicized Rabin memorial day. The Tel Aviv crowd didn't like observing a date on the Jewish calendar and started observing November 4 as the date of Rabin's death instead. The official government functions all take place on 12 Heshvan - the correct Hebrew date. And so, each year, the memorials stretched out.

The main reason that this year's observances started earlier and ended later was the birth and subsequent Brit Mila (circumcision ceremony) for Yigal Amir's son. Amir had to fight four court battles to be present at his son's Brit (pronounced B-r-e-e-t, or B-r-e-e-s in ultra-Orthodox circles). First, he had to go to court to obtain the right to marry at all, even though terrorists are allowed to marry in Israeli prisons. (For example, Samir al-Kuntar has married three times). Second, he had to go to court for permission to have his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, artificially inseminated. Third, when Trimbobler found the artificial insemination treatments too painful, they both went to court and won permission to have conjugal relations. Fourth, when Trimbobler was about to give birth - and they knew it was a boy - a court battle took place over whether Amir could be present at the Brit. In the end, a Tel Aviv district court judge ruled that Amir could not receive a furlough from prison for the Brit (he is too dangerous to society), but that the Brit should take place in the prison, with a maximum of fifteen people - all of whom otherwise had the right to visit Amir - being present. The Brit took place this past Sunday, November 4, 2007.

As you might imagine, with each of Amir's court battles, the screaming on the left became more hysterical, and there was actually a debate leading up to Sunday's 'event' over whether it was better to demonstrate outside the prison or whether that would be playing into Amir's hands. In the end, there were demonstrations - one for Amir and one against him - outside the prison.

Then there was the annual survey of how many people think Amir should be pardoned (eventually), with 30% in all and 46% of the "chovshei kipot" (those who wear skullcaps - i.e. Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews) answering that he should eventually be pardoned. What was unmentioned was that the 'street' here in Jerusalem has had signs up all year saying that if we can release terrorists, why not Amir.

On Sunday night, there was a soccer game between Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa - two of the top teams in the local league. Jerusalem is a very right wing city. Most religious Jews in this country have right wing views and in Jerusalem, most of the secular Jews have right wing views on the 'peace process.' Haifa is somewhere to the left of Tel Aviv and is sometimes referred to as Red Haifa. The game took place in Haifa.

Before the game, with the players wearing shirts that said "no more violence," the crowd was asked to stand in a moment of silence in memory of Yitzchak Rabin. I have heard it alleged that the Haifa public address announcer called for the moment of silence of his own initiative; I haven't seen proof of that. You can watch what happened starting at the 5:04 mark of the video below (unfortunately, the only place I could find this video was Russian news, but those of you who understand Hebrew will understand the incident itself).

The interview in English at the end of the video was with Arkady Gaydamak, the owner of Beitar Jerusalem (which was actually founded by one of the Likud political party's predecessors). Those people you saw booing were the Beitar fans. In Israel, as in Europe, the visiting team's fans have to sit in a separate section of the stadium from the home team's fans. (As an aside, I have always found this amazing, having spent years going to sports events in New York - often with New York fans - and routing for Boston teams without ever getting into a fight. The only professional sports event I have been to in Israel is the Israel Baseball League, which has no such problems because most of the fans are Anglos and/or religious).

The chattering classes were outraged by what happened on Sunday night. For examples, go here, here, and here. And so, Beitar Jerusalem was brought up on charges before the soccer federation for its fans' behavior at a road game. The prosecutor (the league has its own prosecutors and court system) asked that the team be required to play eight home games - half its season - with no fans in the stadium. The team condemned its fans' actions (the Beitar Jerusalem crowd is notoriously rough and has been known to shout "death to the Arabs" when an Arab team plays them), but denied that it had done anything wrong. Today, a ruling was rendered. The team will have to play two home games without fans. Both sides are outraged. Here's a video of the Beitar fans' reaction:

And my view of all this? I believe that the left is responsible for politicizing Rabin's memory by trying to use it to impose Oslo on the rest of us. I can understand the fans' feeling that after twelve years of this, enough is enough and they don't want to have it thrown in their faces all the time. More than 1000 people were murdered by 'Palestinian' terrorists because of Oslo, many of them in Jerusalem, a fact that the left would like us all to forget even as we remember Rabin by repeating his mistakes. So long as the left insists on remembering Rabin the politician rather than Rabin the man (or the general for that matter), the right is going to refuse to go along. As long as the left continues to view Yigal Amir as the murderer of 'peace' rather than the murderer of one man, it will find no common grounds for discourse with the right. And when Yigal Amir's case is looked at as an ordinary murder trial, maybe he'll get a new trial with a real lawyer and a fair result.

More on the soccer match story from Debbie Schlussel here.


At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few slight corrections.

Raviv is the guy in the sweater and jeans in the picture not the jacket, and Raviv went on trial in 2000 for failing to prevent the assasination of Rabin; He was aquitted.


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