Yuval Rabin, son of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, on Saturday said that a recent tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, alleging that Rabin “murdered Holocaust survivors on the Altalena” was a “direct continuation” of a notorious 1995 poster depicting Rabin in an SS uniform, shortly before his assassination.
The poster was seen as part of a general anti-Rabin atmosphere at the time that some said led to his killing. Benjamin Netanyahu has long been accused of playing a part in the incitement against Rabin. The premier has regularly rebuffed the allegations and has characterized them as a form of “political assassination.”
On Saturday, Yuval Rabin posted a short video to Twitter of the prime minister addressing him during a Knesset speech in 2017, expressing sorrow and understanding of his pain over the incitement against his father. “You’d be surprised, Yuval, I understand your pain at the wave of smears and slander against your father,” Netanyahu told him then.
In the tweet, Rabin wrote, “I didn’t believe him. To determine that Rabin murdered Holocaust survivors is a direct continuation of Rabin in an SS uniform,” appearing to link Yair Netanyahu’s comments to his father’s.
“Don’t say you didn’t see it,” Yuval Rabin told his followers. “Maybe this time, the attorney general will act against those who incite?
לא האמנתי לו
לקבוע שרבין רצח ניצולי שואה זה המשך ישיר לפוסטר של רבין במדי אס-אס
אל תגידו שלא ראיתם
אולי הפעם היועץ המשפטי לממשלה יפעל נגד המסיתים? pic.twitter.com/W8pZYWhvUG
— Yuval Rabin (@yrabin) September 7, 2019
Rabin was murdered on November 4, 1995, by Yigal Amir, an extremist Jew, who was opposed to the Oslo Accords and the handing over control of portions of the West Bank to the Palestinians as part of the landmark peace agreement. In the weeks before the assassination, Netanyahu, then head of the opposition, and other senior Likud members attended a right-wing political rally in Jerusalem where protesters branded Rabin a “traitor,” “murderer” and “Nazi” for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians earlier that year.
Yair Netanyahu’s comments on Rabin came in response to a tweet by Democratic Camp MK Stav Shaffir, who as part of an ongoing discussion wrote in a separate tweet to Israeli journalist Kalman Liebskind that Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu should not be compared.
“Rabin boldly led the country toward a peace agreement. Bibi is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” Shaffir wrote, using Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname.
“With Rabin, it ended with three shots. Netanyahu, meanwhile, is running from three indictments. Believe me, it’s better not to compare them,” Shaffir wrote.
רבין עבר על החוק עשה הרצאות באמריקה בעודו עובד ציבור הרוויח הון תועפות. שעלו עליו הפיל את התיק על אשתו, וסגר אתזה בשיחת סלון נעימה עם אהרון ברק. רבין רצח ניצולי שואה באלטלנה. רבין הביא לפה את ערפאת ועוד עשרות אלפי מחבלים מטוניס והביא למותם של 2000 ישראלים
— Yair Netanyahu ???????? (@YairNetanyahu) September 6, 2019
In his response to Shaffir, Yair Netanyahu wrote: “Rabin broke the law by delivering lectures in America while he was a public servant, earning a fortune.”
He was apparently referring to the so-called Dollar Account affair, a 1977 financial scandal involving Rabin and his wife that led to his resignation from his post as prime minister. The Rabins had bank accounts in the United States which they used while he served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington, and which were not closed when they returned to Israel. He had reportedly received $90,000 for delivering lectures in the five years he held the post.
“He murdered Holocaust survivors on the Altalena,” Yair Netanyahu wrote, referring to the Altalena affair, an incident during Israel’s War of Independence when the nascent Israel Defense Forces, including troops under Rabin’s command, clashed with the Irgun paramilitary group in Tel Aviv. Sixteen Irgun members and three IDF soldiers were killed.
“Rabin brought Arafat here and tens of thousands of terrorists from Tunis and brought death to 2,000 Israelis,” he continued. Yasser Arafat had been based in Tunis before the peace talks with Rabin.
“Tell me, how are your pedophile friends?” he said in closing, likely referring to Shaffir’s fellow Democratic Camp member Ehud Barak, who had ties to disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Shaffir was a member of Labor before leaving to join the Democratic Camp.
“We firmly condemn Yair Netanyahu’s harsh statements against the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. What can be expected from him, given that his father stands on the balcony at Zion Square at the head of an incitement campaign,” Labor said in a joint statement with the Gesher party, with which it is running in the September 17 elections.
Yair Netanyahu is a vocal right-wing activist on social media, and has in the past defended his father and repeatedly ignited controversies with inflammatory statements online.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu sent a short statement to Channel 12 news that said: “I don’t agree with my son Yair’s statements on Yitzhak Rabin. His comments are his opinions alone.”
Earlier Saturday, Labor Party leader Amir Peretz threatened to file a libel suit against Yair Netanyahu for the comments.
“As someone responsible for Rabin’s legacy and as a successor to his path, I won’t allow the slander and tarnishing of the reputation of an Israeli hero in war and in peace,” Peretz wrote on Twitter.
“I’ll fight for his reputation and won’t allow sick ideas of sick people to rewrite history to harm the name of the party and my name,” he added.
Rabin’s granddaughter Noa Rothman, who is running in the upcoming elections with the newly-formed Democratic Camp alliance, said Peretz’s threat of a libel suit was an empty gesture.
“You can’t file a suit for libel made against the dead, and therefore the appeal by Peretz and the Labor Party is empty of content,” she was quoted saying by the Maariv daily at a cultural event in Givat Shmuel.
“What is possible is to go to the ballot box and vote according to your conscience,” she added.