On November 7th, Israel’s outgoing Knesset held a commemorative session to mark the anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, 27 years ago.
Among the speakers was MK Bezalel Smotrich, who chairs the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism Party, the third largest party in the Knesset and Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief partner in his prospective coalition. In his speech, Smotrich voiced an absurd conspiracy theory that is prevalent among hard-right Israelis. According to this theory, Israel’s Shin Bet secret service “used irresponsible manipulations (…) to encourage the murderer to carry out his plan,” as Smotrich put it. He added that the criticism of Rabin coming from the national religious community was justified, thus minimizing, indeed ignoring, the documented role that extreme right-wing incitement played in pushing the assassin, Yigal Amir, to pull the trigger.
It is a tragic disgrace that the person who threatened to “get to” Rabin shortly before the assassination, Itamar Ben-Gvir, then a young thug and now the co-chair of Smotrich’s party, is set to soon become a senior minister in Netanyahu’s government. He covets the internal security portfolio and has a good chance of receiving it. For many, this development feels like Rabin is being assassinated again.
Two years ago, on the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, we held a virtual commemorative event that attracted more than 1,700 participants, emceed by star of stage and screen and APN Board member Mandy Patinkin, and featuring members of Congress, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jamie Raskin, prominent musicians and a representative of the Palestinian Authority.
In conjunction with the event, we published this article to explain why we are committed to honoring Rabin’s legacy, headlined Yitzhak Rabin is Still Being Assassinated.
We at Americans for Peace Now and our partners at Israel’s Peace Now movement will not forget, and will continue to remind Israelis and Americans who were the people who stood behind the assassin and who politically profited from the murder. We will continue to honor Rabin’s legacy of peace and work to enhance and implement it.