Knesset Speaker refuses to speak at politicized Rabin memorial

MK Yuli Edelstein cancelled his speech at the Rabin memorial after he learned it would be a left-wing rally.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein turned down an invitation to address next month’s ceremony marking the 23rd anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, an event organized by the group Darkenu.

The Rabin memorial over the years has become a highly politicized event used to lash out at right wing and religious bodies in Israel. Although there has been a recent effort to change the event’s theme to one of inclusiveness and national reconciliation.

Edelstein initially accepted a request to speak at the event after organizers said they wanted speakers from across the political spectrum, but when it became apparent that the event would retain its left-wing orientation he backed out.

“I thought that nearly 25 years after the vile assassination we could overcome our political biases and organize an event that would unite people behind the fundamental values of Israeli society. But unfortunately, it seems the readiness for that has not arrived yet,” Edelstein wrote in a letter announcing his cancellation.

While claiming to be non-partisan, Darkenu consists of several left-wing political organizations, including V-15 and OneVoice, which made headlines for working with the U.S. State Department against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2015 elections.

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Darkenu responded to Edelstein’s cancellation by accusing him of “preferring narrow political considerations” and twisting their intentions, the Jerusalem Post reported.