Netanyahu endures insults as Rabin memorials turn into bashfests

A grandson of the assassinated prime minister told Benjamin Netanyahu to “go home.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s political stalemate was put front and center Sunday at state memorials for the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who was assassinated on this date in the Hebrew calendar by a man opposed to his signing of the Oslo Accords with the terrorist PLO organization.

Speaking at Israel’s national cemetery on Mount Herzl where Rabin is buried, his grandson, Yonatan Ben-Artzi, pulled no punches although he did not mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by name.

“The many years you have been in power have caused you to forget what it is like to be human beings,” he said, using the collective “you” in Hebrew in blaming the right-wing caretaker government for the “collapse” of the country due to the inability to form a working coalition.

He then added the singular “you” and said, “I call for you, and all of you, to do what you know is the right thing for the country at this time. Take responsibility for your actions. If a spot has stuck to you, move aside. Quit your jobs. Go home and deal with the personal allegations against you. If they are cleared, then come back.”

The acrimony in the Knesset ceremony was similar, as Blue and White head Benny Gantz used the opportunity to blame Netanyahu for “paralyzing” the country by calling for early elections in April “out of personal considerations” and then dissolving the Knesset and calling for elections again in September “for the same reasons.”

Gantz also brought up the charge that the right-wing was inciting to violence as it did before the assassination, saying that “signs in the squares have been replaced with keyboard bullies.”

“The atmosphere [today] is similar and the danger to Israeli society is greater than it was before the assassination,” he added. “All of us, on the Right and Left, must fight this phenomenon. If we are not careful, others will be seven times worse.”

Netanyahu, for his part, mostly stuck to his annual message that the line should never be crossed from free speech to violence, and castigated his opponents for turning what should be a respectful memorial into a “blatantly political and reckless” event.

Before the official parliamentary ceremony began, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein had begged the speakers not to engage in a political debate.

“The Memorial Day for Yitzhak Rabin is not the appropriate day to debate his diplomatic legacy,” he declared. “We have 364 other days in the year for that. I personally disagreed with him… but this is not the day to bring up the argument. This is the day to make sure that we still have a base under us from which we can hold the argument.”