Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin dedicated much of his speech at the Knesset’s memorial ceremony for Yitzchak Rabin on Thursday to the cynical manner in which Rabin’s death was used for political ends.
“All those who criticized the real Yitzchak Rabin, the flesh-and-blood person, were all marked retroactively as partners to the murder and as responsible for its occurrence. Yet we see that after just a few years, the [left-wing's] most outspoken blamers have become best friends with those who were accused [such as Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert – ed.].”
Rivlin explained how this happened: “Whoever shook off his previous political loyalties and crossed the political lines to the other side, was granted forgiveness. Wonderful ‘photoshop’ work was done, retroactively, successfully erasing from the public consciousness the centrality of those who stood out in their objections to Rabin and his policies.”
Rivlin, who grew up in a Herut-party home just like Olmert, has long been critical of Olmert’s political turnabout, in which he (Olmert) took less than a year to go from nationalist Jerusalem mayor seen as the “defender of Jerusalem” to one of the first proponents of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Rivlin said at the time that Olmert reminded him of the absolute turnabout of his hareidi-turned-secular cousins: "When they stopped being religious, they went all the way - not only driving on the Sabbath, but also eating pig."
Rivlin, in his Thursday speech, was able to see the silver lining in the situation: “Precisely because it has become clear that this entire shameful situation is merely political, it is now starting to be possible to turn the Rabin murder into a historic event that everyone can learn from and identify with. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis can now feel that they, too, are permitted to mourn, and that they are actually not guilty of the murder.”
“Leaving the Rabin murder only in its narrow, limiting and polarizing political context,” Rivlin said, “is what enabled politicians of a certain type to build a political career upon it, at our expense.”