Twenty-five years before US President Donald Trump stood alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint press conference to unveil his long-awaited peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot and killed as he departed a Tel Aviv rally at which he spoke in support of the Oslo Accords.
The Trump administration’s vision for peace has its share of critics on both sides of the Green Line. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was conspicuously absent from the plan’s announcement – as were any Palestinian representatives, for that matter. The Palestinian side had announced its boycott of the event, and rejection of the proposed plan, well in advance. But love the plan or hate it, there’s no denying that it probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the 1995 Rabin assassination, and the resulting trauma from which the peace process never fully recovered.
This week on People of the Pod, Israeli filmmaker Yaron Zilberman discusses his new motion picture “Incitement,” released on January 31, chronicling the real-life events surrounding the murder of Rabin by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir. The film tracks the rise of extremism in Israel which led to an act that would have previously been considered unthinkable.
(Our weekly podcast, produced in cooperation between the American Jewish Committee and The Times of Israel, takes a look at current events through a Jewish lens.)
Speaking with co-host Seffi Kogen, Zilberman defends his decision to dive deep into Amir’s personal circumstances in the year leading up to the assassination – something critics have said borders on sympathizing with the killer.
“At the end of the day, you see an assassination and somebody who kills a prime minister that was pushing for peace… and therefore, someone who kills someone fighting for peace, I think is not someone you should root for at all,” Zilberman says.
“However, I did want to tell an honest story about Rabin’s assassination, but through the eyes of the assassin,” he says. “I wanted to tell the story in a more rounded way, so we could look into the eyes of the abyss, as they say, and get as much insight into that story that truthfulness could bring about.”
Zilberman says the incitement present in discourse by Israeli politicians and religious leaders today has “crossed a line.” Warning that followers are on track to misinterpret words and potentially inflict further damage and violence, Zilberman says “it should be stopped.” In typical Israeli fashion, though, he adds a caveat: “That doesn’t mean we can’t criticize and protest. Being critical is super important for good citizenship and for society to progress.”
Tune in for the full interview, as well as a fascinating – and hilarious – discussion between co-host Manya Brachear Pashman and Orthodox Jewish comedian Ashley Blaker, whose new off-Broadway show, “Goy Friendly,” is now running at the Soho Playhouse theater in New York.
Plus, this week, in a live recording from Jerusalem, listeners sit in on a real, 360-degree editorial meeting, as Times of Israel editors and reporters break down the “Deal of the Century,” as well as how the proposed peace plan impacts Israeli security, politics and diplomacy.
And, Times of Israel Jewish World and Archaeology editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with prominent Israeli philosopher and author of “Catch-67” Micah Goodman, who believes that elements of the Trump peace plan should be implemented as a “phase two” of the Bush administration’s Road Map to peace – not as a means of ending the conflict, but as of reframing it so it can then be approached from a different perspective.