The annual convocation to pay tribute to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin is an opportunity to honor a man who made major contributions to the State and to unite the people. Instead, it has been converted by a coalition of politicians, media persons, entertainment figures, messianic peace campers, and assorted sycophants and publicity seekers into a promotional scheme and festival to further an already defunct “peace” process and drive further wedges into an already divided society.
Even if one accepts Ezer Weizmann’s claim (that Rabin had a nervous breakdown and did not function during critical moments in the Six Day War) and Uri Milstein’s allegation (that as a young officer in the War of Independence Rabin failed in his duty and abandoned his men) and even if one accepts the reality that Rabin participated in the shooting of helpless Jews attempting to escape the burning Etzel ship Altalena, the fact remains that there are two features of Rabin’s life that are worthy of honor and even imitation.
First, he was the Chief of Staff who prepared the IDF for the Six Day War and his name will forever be associated with that victory. The photograph of Rabin, Narkiss and Dayan entering the Old City in uniform is one of the images of that War that will be seen in history books for years to come.
Second, before becoming a politician and statesman whose policies have proven to be failures, Rabin spent most of his adult life in the army, serving the country and defending it from its enemies. All free societies depend on that relatively small group that is willing to suspend its personal freedom and accept upon itself the discipline and danger of the military life. Without such people, freedom would not exist. Those that do so are to be honored and even emulated. If there is any meaning at all to the much bandied-about term “the Rabin Legacy” then that is the only meaning.
One of the perennial stars of the festival is a popular singer who takes pride in being a draft dodger who never served his country. Peace Now describes the festival as “the annual moment when the Peace Camp stands up to be counted.” These are indications of how far the memory of Rabin’s real accomplishments have been devalued and an opportunity for all the people to share in a real legacy has been missed.