Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of incitement that led to the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Netanyahu rival and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz blamed the prime minister for failing to prevent extreme rhetoric which Gantz said eventually led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995. The accusation is a central theme of the Israeli left’s narrative of the murder.
In a Saturday interview on Israel’s Channel 12, Gantz accused Benjamin Netanyahu of incitement that led to the murder over 23 years ago to explain why he had said in an earlier statement that Netanyahu would have him killed if he could.
Last week, Israel’s Channel 13 News publicized a secretly taped conversation in which Gantz made those remarks to a group of confidantes. When asked on Israel’s Meet the Press program on Saturday why he had said this, Gantz referred to the vitriolic atmosphere in Israel before Rabin’s assassination on November 5, 1995.
Gantz noted an anti-Oslo Accord rally in Jerusalem in which Netanyahu participated as leader of the opposition. At that rally, a man (later it would turn out a provocateur of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency) held a picture of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform – something that Netanyahu repeatedly has denied seeing.
Netanyahu also marched at an anti-government demonstration where a mock coffin was carried behind him painted with the words, “Rabin is burying us.”
“We were talking about incitement, and where sanctioning it can go,” Gantz said. “Remember, such things happened in the past. Netanyahu was on the stage in Zion Square, and he followed a coffin, and we saw how such exaggerated behavior ended up. It should be taken seriously.”
While none deny the extreme rhetoric sparked by the 1993 Oslo Accords, in which Israel negotiated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Netanyahu has rejected the charge that he incited his followers to violence.
In 2016, Netanyahu posted to his Facebook page a video that included excerpts from speeches he had made earlier in 1995 in which he called anti-Rabin rhetoric “wrong, misguided and immoral.”
Netanyahu also publicly condemned the murder as “a shocking political assassination, abhorred by all.”