Speaking at a Knesset event commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the event was “traumatic” for Israelis, and that still twenty years later Israelis were struggling to come to terms with it.
“This tragic event ripped open a hole in the heart of Israeli democracy, and we must close it up. There are still those among us who deny the legitimacy of our democracy – that we make decisions in the ballot box, not in public squares or through the barrel of a gun.”
The Prime Minister spoke at a special Knesset session in which all MKs had an opportunity to speak about the murder of Rabin, which took place November 4, 1995. Speaking first, Netanyahu said that “as the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a bastion of freedom and equal rights in a huge area where the sword – and only the sword – reigns. Sometimes even a thriving democracy stands before a great test and crisis that threatens its ability to operate, its stability, and its values.”
Netanyahu stressed that despite their best efforts, none of the six prime ministers that had been in office since the death of Rabin had managed to actualize the vision of peace as laid out in the Oslo Accords. “If they are not prepared to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and give up on their dream of returning to Haifa and Jaffa, if they continue to teach their children to hate Jews and to see Israelis as imperialists, of course there will be no peace,” said Netanyahu.
Rabin, added the Prime Minister, “hoped that there would be a change in this area – but he, too, was stymied by a wave of vicious terror and Islamic fanaticism that engulfed the entire region. We left Gaza and what happened? Half of the Palestinians, members of an Islamic fanatic cult, rained missiles on us, while the second half refuses to challenge the first half. The Palestinians do not have a mirror image of our society that seeks peace as we do, but differ on the ways to achieve it. Yitzhak Rabin was a smart man who understand all this in the depths of his soul,” he added.