Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 18 years ago, whilst he was on his mission to end the conflict in the way he believed was possible. Since his political assassination the annual memorial rallies are losing support, and the Rabin legacy is now being questioned.
This year’s rally took place last Saturday; only 30,000 people were in attendance, most of them were scouts and or from other youth movements. There was no one from the Knesset, no one from the government. It was the first time that even the leftist ‘Meretz’ party didn’t attend – this was due to an internal conflict between them over the title of the event. The main speaker was Yonatan Ben Artzi, Rabin’s grandson, who threw a peace dart directly at Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“My grandfather was murdered over peace, and you owe us all peace,”
Ben Artzi said in Hebrew. “You have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the international situation for peace. It won’t be easy or popular. But it’s your time to close a circle and bring us peace.” Documentary footage of Rabin was projected onto a huge white screen that hung over the crowd; if you closed your eyes, it almost sounded like he was live on stage, shouting:
“This is the only battle that is a pleasure to wage – the battle for peace.”
After the event, many were wondering why such a small crowd came to this year’s rally, some blamed Labour as it was claimed that they tried to take control of the event in order to politicize it, some didn’t think the event’s agenda was bold enough and preferred that the agenda discussed the peace that was ‘murdered’ with Rabin rather than the empty words that called for the end of violence. After reading all sorts of explanations from people that were there and from people that weren’t I read this article by Mazal Mualem, which made me think of the broader picture.
I don’t think it’s all true but it’s an interesting perspective to look at it.