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Good Sportsmanship--Winner Takes All--Rabin's Legacy

By Batya Medad
11/6/2007, 12:00 AM

Having grown up in America, the concept of "good sportsmanship" was ingrained, the way I'd hope that "derech eretz" would be in the Jewish World.

Israel is all abuzz with the way some Betar Jerusalem Soccer fans reacted to the imposed "minute's silence" in memory of Rabin.

Who remembers how Rabin, as Prime Minister, treated the opposition?

"Let them spin like propellors!"

"I'm Prime Minister of 96% of the people."

"לא מזיז לי!"  Meaning: "Doesn't interest/affect/move me." 

These were his reactions to the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of Israelis who protested his Oslo Accords, in which he had pledged to destroy most of the Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. 

I'm not even going to get into the Shabbak, Israeli internal secret service, connection to the pre-assassination anti-Rabin protests and all that.

Rabin made it clear that "winner takes all," meaning that he, as Prime Minister, was not beholden to the opposition.  He only cared for his supporters.  That same philosophy explained why he never apologized for leading the troops against his fellow Jews on the Altalena.  They killed Jews.  Yes, Yitzchak Rabin was the commander of the Palmach unit which shot and killed Jews.

And for the past twelve years, how has his supporters reacted to his death?  They incite against all who politically opposed him.  They haven't ceased accusing us of complicity in murder.

We are innocent.  We are victims of hate.

Betar Jerusalem fans said: "Ouch!"  Yes, they could have used more dignified language, but they aren't murderers.  They are tired of being accused of crimes they didn't commit.  Don't forget how Rabin's Labor party would refer to them as the "riff raff," when putting down Menachem Begin's supporters.  There's certainly no reason to penalize the Betar Jerusalem team for its fans' uninhibited behavior.

Keep politics out of sports.

Nobody should expect the "right" to be silent until the "left" stops attacking it. Christians preach "turning the other cheek," but they don't follow it, and we certainly don't need to adopt such a dangerous precept.

Rabin's legacy is to attack the opposition, cause dissent.  It's time to move beyond it.

Good Sportsmanship is "how you play the game," not about winning and losing.