The son of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin decried the “delegitimization” of his father and efforts to “rewrite the history” of his legacy on Saturday, 22 years to the day after the premier was assassinated at a peace rally.
“The impression has been created that Yitzhak Rabin woke up in the morning and thought about how to evacuate settlers, how to kill more Jews, how to bring more terrorists,” said Yuval Rabin at a cultural event in Givat Shmuel.
“There is also a process of delegitimization here, the creation of an infrastructure for rewriting history,” he added, according to the Ynet news site. “I don’t want to name names or point fingers, but everyone knows there is a process that serves [the] political interests of all sorts of actors.”
His comments came ahead of the annual rally marking the assassination, to be held Saturday evening in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
The rally, held this year under the slogan “We are one people,” will include speakers from across the political spectrum, including former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit and local municipality leaders alongside representatives of the ultra-Orthodox and settler communities.
“On the 22nd anniversary of the Rabin assassination, it’s time to look ahead,” organizers said. “To the Israel we all want to see and live in. One that, despite differences, advances that which unites over that which divides. One that strives to realize the spirit of the declaration of independence” and to bring about “a model society. One that can come about, if we choose it.”
Yuval Rabin’s latest comments came after he issued a scathing tirade against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a memorial event for his late father earlier in the week.
“Yitzhak Rabin did not work against the democratic rights of those who opposed him, or tried to silence those who opposed him,” he said in regard to Netanyahu, without mentioning him by name. “Even when he was exposed to waves of the most terrible incitement he was the prime minister for everyone.”
Responding to Yuval Rabin’s remarks, Netanyahu called for national reconciliation and unity, directly addressing his criticism Wednesday at a Knesset memorial service marking 22 years since Rabin was assassinated.
“You challenged me, and I took up the gauntlet,” Netanyahu said. “I call for national reconciliation and brotherhood. I have done it many times before, but in light of your moving call, I repeat this message with all my might. I call for unity, based around the security and political principles shared today by the majority of the nation.”
Addressing Netanyahu’s call for national unity, Rabin said Saturday that while he hoped political tensions could be reduced, more action is necessary.
“I hope we can truly advance what the prime minister called ‘taking up the gauntlet,’ and work first of all towards reducing the flames and the end of incitement amongst us,” said Rabin. “I want to believe, and the test will be action, not words.”
He also said Netanyahu has the ability to help end incitement due to his standing in Likud, the ruling party in the governing coalition.
“Netanyahu is unequivocally an almost absolute authority in the Likud movement and can stop or certainly moderate these processes,” he said.
Rabin’s remarks came ahead of a rally to be held Saturday evening at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
Tens of thousands have regularly attended the rally in past years and police were expected to show a heavy presence to provide security.
Organizers’ message of unity, rather than the more traditional call for peace and denunciation of extremism, has angered some on the left, with some saying the shift in emphasis to promoting national unity was an attempt to gloss over the assassination.
Right-wing extremist Yigal Amir shot Rabin to death on Nov. 4, 1995, at the end of an event the then-prime minister held to demonstrate public support for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians. In the following days, and every year since on the Saturday nearest to the anniversary date, thousands of Israelis have gathered in Rabin Square, as it was renamed, to pay their respects.
JTA contributed to this report.