Israel media review

Mending a broken nation: 6 things to know for November 4

The Rabin assassination Rabin 23 years ago is reverberating to this day, and the political divide becomes evident on the anniversary of the murder

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Head of the left-wing Meretz party Tamar Zandberg attends a rally marking 23 years since the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on November 3, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Head of the left-wing Meretz party Tamar Zandberg attends a rally marking 23 years since the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on November 3, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

1. A day after thousands marked 23 years since the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the country’s atmosphere as reflected in the media suggests that the murder still haunts Israeli society, and that the various political camps in the country still harbor much resentment toward one another.

  • During Minister Tzachi Hanegbi’s speech at the ceremony in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, much of the crowd booed and shouted, in an apparent voicing of dissatisfaction over the Likud party member’s heavy criticism of Rabin in the months before the assassination. Many on the left still hold a grudge against right-wingers who protested against Rabin and the Oslo Accords, arguing that the fiery rhetoric used during those demonstrations played a major role in Yigal Amir’s decision to assassinate the prime minister.
  • Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett both condemned the booing crowd, accusing them of hijacking the ceremony — which was publicized as an event urging unity — in order to bash the current right-wing government.

2. This morning, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein asserted that Rabin’s assassination had no political impact on the Jewish state, and that Yigal Amir failed in achieving his goals of thwarting the Oslo peace process, as the murderers’ actions only prolonged the implementation of the accords.

  • In an interview with Army Radio, Edelstein explained that saying Amir had been successful in his efforts implies that violence is an effective means to promote one’s worldview, and that therefore, we must not suggest that the assassination was historically relevant.
  • While Edelstein’s logic may make some sort of sense, the words with which he chose to convey his message clearly offended some, including Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg. “The assassination of Rabin has diverted Israel from its path and halted the peace process, which is what [the murder] was designed to do,” Zandberg said, according to Haaretz. “Any attempt to deny that is part of a failure to take responsibility for the atmosphere that led to the murder.”

3. Israeli media outlets, like their American counterparts, are watching the upcoming US midterm elections closely, as the outcome in the polls and the party that will consequently take control of the House may have a significant impact on the Jewish state.

  • Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom’s editor-in-chief and a not-so-subtle supporter of US President Donald Trump, goes out of his way, literally, to find the most pro-Trump counties he can during a tour of America. Reporting from West Virginia, where nearly 70% of the voting population cast their ballots for Trump in 2016, Bismuth uses anecdotes in an attempt to discredit those who criticize the president. “Even the Democrats here attack the media, which went too far because of its hatred of Trump,” Bismuth decisively determines following a conversation with a West Virginian cabdriver.
  • In Haaretz, on the other side of the political spectrum, Chemi Shalev is also not all that subtle in his commentary on the midterms, as he continually points out Trump’s flaws and misconduct ahead of the elections, and assesses that the president is already bracing for less than optimal results.

4. Both contributors, however, dwell on Trump’s apparent decision to focus his campaign efforts on the Republican Party base rather than on independents or moderates.

  • For evidence, both Bismuth and Shalev note that Trump has placed a serious emphasis on the migrant caravan heading towards US borders, and has, perhaps surprisingly, shied away from highlighting the positive reports in terms of the country’s economic achievements.

5. Israel’s infamous Route 90 in the country’s east claimed another 6 victims this morning — Palestinian workers who were killed when their vehicle collided with a truck. Four more people were severely injured.

  • 17 people have lost their lives on Route 90 in the past two weeks, including eight members of one family. The road is infamous for the lack of a barrier separating its opposite lanes.
  • According to figures released by Israel’s National Road Safety Authority, 122 people have lost their lives on Route 90 since 2009. Since the beginning of the year, 255 people have been killed on Israel’s roads.

6. The National Lottery is dealing with an unusual scenario after the winner of a NIS 3.3 million (about $890,000) prize in May — half a year ago — has failed to show up to claim his award.

  • “Winners usually come after three months, at most four,” said Dafna Naim Shaul, VP Sales and Marketing at the National Lottery. “Waiting until the last day, it has not happened.” If the individual fails to show up by tomorrow, the money will be returned to the National Lottery, she added.

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