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Lone Voice at Rabin Memorial: Stop Blaming Nationalists

Likud Minister Gideon Saar was a lone voice at Rabin memorial Saturday night while others mourned Oslo instead of Rabin.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/7/2009, 11:37 PM / Last Update: 11/7/2009, 11:44 PM

Israel news photo

Likud Education Minister Gideon Saar, speaking at memorial services for former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin Saturday night, said “the time has come to stop 'wagging the finger of blame' against the national religious community for his murder."

His speech was a lone voice among others who used the podium to beg PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas not to resign instead of mourning Rabin who was assassinated 14 years ago.

The ceremony was postponed from last Saturday because of a rainstorm.Less than 20,000 people attended, far below the crowds that attended in recent years.

The Education Minister asserted that following the assassination of Rabin, political leaders “pushed a large [national religious] community, which also was pained and angry, out of the tent of mourning despite its members belief in democracy and their patriotism. This was an unjustifiable mistake, and the time has come to open the curtains of the tent so that everyone can mourn together.”

Regarding the peace process, which is more frequently being referred to as the diplomatic process, Saar said that it is intolerable in a democracy to make a different opinion illegitimate and to label those who not agree as “traitors."

He added that there is “zero tolerance” for violence and that “we will not stop working for our dream of making Israel a 'Light to the Nations,'" and that “revisionists, socialists and the national religious community" share the same goals of preserving the future of Israel and achieving peace.

Other speakers, starting with President Shimon Peres, called on Abbas to retract his announcement this week that he will not run for re-election in January, when the Palestinian Authority is supposed to stage new elections. Peres said that "the three shots that caused [Rabin’s] death were aimed at the peace process.”

Rabin "knew that those who starve peace fatten extremism, and those who reject the two-state solution will not bring a one-state solution. They will bring one fight, a fight of endless bloodshed," he stated.

Defense Minister and Labor party chairman Ehud Barak, who was greeted with scattered boos, used the podium to remind listeners of the arrest of an “additional Jewish murderer." He was referring to Yaakov Teitel, who was charged with murdering two Arabs, and Barak implicitly associated him with Yigal Amir, the Herzliya resident who murdered Rabin.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a video message recalling the American policy of “working aggressively for our clear goal, two states living side by side in peace and security."