Ben-Ari: Change Name of Rabin Street to Protect His Dignity
A leftist resident of Ashkelon has filed a complaint against MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) for “disrespecting the memory of Yitzchak Rabin.” According to the complaint, filed with Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, Ben-Ari sought to change the name of Rabin Street in Ashkelon, renaming it in honor of Moshe Ami, an Ashkelon resident who was killed in a recent Grad rocket attack by Gaza Arab terrorists on the city.
Ben-Ari said he got the idea when he paid a shiva (mourning) call earlier this month to the family of the 56-year old Ami, who was killed October 29 after returning to Ashekelon from a visit to his brother in Petach Tikvah. Ben-Ari said that residents were extremely angry, and that many directed their anger towards the government – and Rabin – after he had promised before the signing of the Oslo Accords that terrorists would never fire missiles on Ashkelon.
In a letter to Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin, Ben-Ari wrote that it was clear that Rabin's promise – which was accompanied by his scorn for those “who were trying to scare the people away from peace, as he claimed” - had clearly not been fulfilled. “I took a tour of the city and many people I spoke with who are angry, and they will get even angrier if the name of the street is not changed. Not changing the name will actually further dishonor his name, because of this anger.”
In the wake of the letter, a leftist activist in Ashkelon wrote to Rivlin demanding that action be taken against Ben-Ari. In the complaint, the activist wrote that Ben-Ari's request was “in bad taste, and insulting to democracy.”
The issue was brought up in the Knesset Monday. In response to the complaint, Ben-Ari said that “the left was always very good at preventing those it disagrees with from expressing opinions, and stifling public discourse on those issues. The request to change the name of Rabin Street is a legitimate one, based on the feelings of many people in the city. I will continue to work on behalf of the public without hesitation or fear from the left, who are trying to impose a 'thought police' and to rule by shutting up its critics,” Ben-Ari said.