Netanyahu warns 25 years after Rabin assassination, incitement now targets him

Catcalls at Knesset during Rabin memorial as Netanyahu warns same murderous atmosphere is now directed at him.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

At a special Knesset session Thursday marking the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the same poisonous incitement that led to the fateful killing was now focusing on him.

In his opening remarks, Netanyahu paid tribute to the slain leader as a patriot, whose career “deserves deep appreciation from the entire country.”

Netanyahu warned that the Jewish people had a history that included the actions of “unbridled zealots” and that steps had to be taken to calm the political atmosphere.

“If we allow marginalized people to behave in this way, we will once again find ourselves on the brink of an abyss. Political violence and any other camp must be strongly condemned,” Netanyahu said, emphasizing that using a gun “in the town square was not and will not be a substitute for the peoples’ decision at the ballot box.”

“Today, 25 years after Rabin’s assassination, there is explicit incitement to assassination against the prime minister and his family,” Netanyahu said, at which point he was interrupted by catcalls from opposition members who accused him of ignoring the incitement against Rabin when he was present at rallies where crowds held pictures of Rabin dressed as a Nazi and charged “Rabin is a traitor.”

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“I insisted on my right to express a position that was contrary to the government at the time. This was not only my right but also my duty,” Netanyahu said of his opposition to the Oslo Accords.

“I respected Yitzhak Rabin, I appreciated his sense of mission and his directness, but at the same time I disagreed with him. I vehemently opposed the ‘traitor’ calls made against him, but at the time, I believed that Rabin and his government were wrong. The mistake was to make peace with enemies.”

“I believed then, and I still believe today, that peace is made with enemies who have decided to stop being enemies,” Netanyahu said. “There must be no incitement to murder and violence – from any side.”

Netanyahu pointed out that in the years since Oslo there has not been a peace treaty with any Arab country until the recent signing of peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and the pending normalization with Sudan.

“If we continue the policy I have outlined, more countries will join. This is a real revolution that changes the future of Israel and the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.

At the state memorial service held earlier Thursday at the President’s residence, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin referred to the anti-government protests that have targeted Netanyahu for the past several months, saying he “fears the high flames within us are endangering our home. Twenty-five years after the assassination, the country is torn like a Red Sea between two camps, and hatred is bubbling under our feet.”

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In July, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana noted that the anti-Netanyahu protests had started getting violent.

“There is an atmosphere of hatred in the demonstrations, not of disagreements. There have always been and always will be disagreements, but this time there is an intense hatred between the parties,” Ohana said.

“I hope I’m wrong, but I think this will end in bloodshed. There are explicit calls for the assassination of the Prime Minister,” Ohana said.