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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Thoughts On Rabin's Memorial

I was 13 at the time of Rabin's assassination. I was also living in America at the time. The only emotion that I really remember feeling when I found out that he had been killed was, I wasn't surprised. That's really it. I mean, c'mon, I was only 13, and I was American. I didn't have too much to do with politics, period, at the time. Yes, I went to a Zionist Day School, but I wasn't too much into Israeli politics. When the Oslo Agreement was signed, they had us watch it in class. All I can remember from watching the signing was, This isn't a good thing. I didn't know why it wasn't since I didn't really know what any of it meant, but I just felt that it wasn't a good thing. We also watched Rabin's huge funeral on in class. We actually had a special school assembly to watch it. I didn't really feel much while I watched it because I really wasn't connected to it. I know I liked the fact that we got to miss class to watch it because it lasted a while. I also remember me and my friends laughing a little bit when President Clinton ended his eulogy by trying to speak Hebrew and said, "Shalom Haver".

It's only until after I started really studying modern Israeli history and Israeli politics that I was able to quantify my visceral feelings that I had at such a young age. But, I'm not really going to mention those revelations now. There's no use, and that's not why I'm writing. There are many out there that disagree with what Rabin did. They believe that Oslo is the worst thing that Israel has done to itself to date. I tend to agree with that sentiment, but that's besides the point. It doesn't matter how much you hate or disagree with the actions of a politician or a head of state, agreeing or advocating the murder of that person is wrong and goes against everything Judaism and democracy stands for. There are those out there saying that because, theoretically, Barghouti or other violent Palestinian terrorists can be let out of prison in the future in some pathetic prisoner exchange or attempt at showing more "good will" to the Palestinians, that the Knesset should NOT pass a law stating that Yigal Amir, the one guilt of assassinating Rabin, can never be let out of prison. First of all, this is one of the reasons I advocate instituting the death penalty in Israel. Israeli society has a very messed up idea of justice and punishment and the concept incarceration. There are no standard or minimum sentences for violent crimes. Prisoners are allowed to have VACATIONS outside of the prison walls. For this and other reasons, I believe that the Israeli justice and prison system is a joke, and if I was able to, I'd overhaul the entire system.

Second of all, this is a ridiculous analogy. One has nothing to do with the other. Of course, terrorists like Barghouti should NEVER be let out of prison, not even in exchange for, sorry to say this, hostages or captives like Gilad Shalit. The certified murder that this man will commit is just too horrific to even contemplate. If the discussion ever came up, I'd be picketing with the rest of 'em. Regardless of how much you hated Rabin, there's a huge difference between a murderer and Amir. Both have taken a life, but their significance is different. Amir did something that's not just murder. He went after the representative of a democratic state because he didn't like his politics and felt he was performing a Mitzvah, in murder, on behalf of the Jewish people and Jewish state with his actions. This is an attempt at anarchy. It's not even just the killing of a Jew by a fellow Jew. This is a person that attempted to speak for an entire people by murdering the head of state. This isn't altruistic, like the assassination attempt of Hitler. I've already written an article on the profile of an assassin, so there's no point in going over it again here. If you can't tell the difference between murder and assassination, then you are letting your emotions against what Rabin stood for interfere with logic. READ THE REST...

What I want to end with are my husband's thoughts on the event. He was 14 at the time of the assassination and had to deal with many hardships in school as a result of Rabin's killing. He went to a mixed public school, where he wore a Kippa. After Rabin's assassination, he heard very negative statements about religious people and remembers the general feeling that the whole religious community was being tagged and blamed for the actions of one person. He lived in Israel through the before and the aftermath of Rabin's death. It's only fitting that he be placed in the context. I can't ever understand what it was like living here at the time just like nobody who wasn't in New York on 9/11 can understand what I felt being there. He has 3 thoughts.

1) In a democratic country, assassination is never the way to change things, and it demeans the democratic process and democracy as a whole. If anyone believes that assassinating the head of a state is the way to change policy, then they don't understand how democracy works. Violence is not the solution to political disagreements. If it was, we'd have anarchy. There were a lot of angry protests that went on against Rabin, but they weren't violent.

2) Amir's assassination of Rabin legitimized and sanctified the Oslo Process, which was well on its way to its death and was beginning to being widely recognized as failing by the people and by many politicians. In other words, had Rabin not been killed, it's very likely that Netanyahu would have won the elections by a landslide when they were held in '96, because we know what the polls were before Rabin's death. Bibi would have run on the anti-Oslo ticket, and he would have won, and he would have had a large mandate to put an end to the Oslo Process. Instead, he won but b/c of the sanctification of the Oslo agreement via Rabin's assassination, he was unable to stop going along with the Oslo train. If he had, he would have been crucified as going against Rabin's legacy and "dying wish". So, instead, he ends up signing the dastardly Hebron Agreement, speaking to Arafat, and continuing on with the Oslo Process even-though it become ever more abundantly clear that it was a failed deal that was costing the lives of thousands of Jews. There are those that continue to state that Bibi was a terrible Prime Minister, but his term was doomed from the start because of Rabin's assassination. He was completely handcuffed to "carry on Rabin's work".

3) It basically allowed for a witch hunt against the entire religious population of the country, including the branding of all the religious people of the country as being part of or supporting Rabin's death and Amir's actions. It also became illegitimate to protest against Oslo. Before Rabin's death, there were a lot of high level protests against Oslo. But, after his death, there were no more protests, or if there were, they small and low profile. It became taboo. Because of the way that the right has been illegitimated, his memorials have become a commemoration of the left. If you're on the right in any way, you don't feel welcome to memorialize him because you don't agree with what Rabin did, and you're almost made to feel dirty about that fact. After his death, there was a sense that being right wing or even being religious was something to be ashamed of, and when the elections came along after his assassination, there were even posters of "We know who Yigal Amir's voting for". Meaning, Bibi or any right wing party. There was a sense that if the Oslo process was killed, or being against the process, it meant that Amir won, or you were for his deeds.

Also, it must be remembered that Rabin wasn't the lone person responsible for Oslo. The government voted to approve the deal. That's how democracy works. And, in a democracy, the people speak. Rabin was assassinated in '95. Elections were going to be in November of '96. Rabin would have LOST. Bibi would have won, and he would have stopped Oslo. Instead, Rabin became a martyr, and Oslo becomes his last charge that Israel was duty bound to carry out. So, in my mind, I disagree with those that say that Rabin has the blood of thousands on his hands b/c of Oslo. If we lived in a dictatorship or tyranny, I may agree with you, but we live in a democracy. The government voted on the Agreement, and they didn't have to. If Rabin hadn't been killed, Oslo would have ended for good in '96. Instead, it was forced to continue on a devastating path and didn't officially die until Barak's Taba and Camp David deals were killed by Arafat, and the Intifada. That's more than 5 years worth of terror and bloodshed that didn't have to happen, and it's because of Amir's actions. So, the minute Rabin was assassinated, I hold Yigal Amir personally responsible for every Jew and Israeli that was killed. It is Amir, NOT Rabin, that has the death of thousands on his hands.


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5 Comments:

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Seems that a comment I made here yesterday didn't somehow make it through.

I said simply that this was a remarkably balanced piece.

Now let me try and hit the right button...

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Thanks Gert. I really appreciate the comment.
-OC

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger Michael said...

And all of this is why, after his conviction, Amir should have been taken out back of the courthouse and shot.

Instead, his act is a festering wound, because all of is treated to news stories and analysis of his engagement, and his wedding, and her fertility treatments, and their conjugal visit, and the birth of their kid, and how he'll miss the brit...

And it will never end.

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Obadiah Shoher said...

Do you folks ever consider the massive evidence against Amir killing Rabin? Here, for example http://samsonblinded.org/blog/how-rabin-was-killed.htm

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Michael said...

That's written by the kind of folks who wear tin-foil hats...

But mostly, I remember watching live TV footage of the event, and thinking how much it looked like the Reagan shooting.

 

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