Yuli Edelstein
Yuli EdelsteinHillel Meir/TPS

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein responded to leftist attacks on his words on Army Radio that the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin "had no historical influence."

His office explains: "The murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was a terrible tragedy for his family and friends, and a shock to the State of Israel. In his speech, the Knesset Speaker argued that the lowly murder did not help Yigal Amir achieve the result he hoped to achieve; on the contrary. In doing so, he prolonged the days of the Oslo Accords, which were destined to fail in the first place."

In the interview, he said that he seriously considered going to the Rabin memorial rally: "I thought that maybe at last there was some thought of turning the rally into something that unfortunately it hasn't been so far, something that really makes us all think about what we're doing and how we act so that, G-d forbid, such a thing won't happen in Israel," he said.

"I'd have only scored political points from getting booed, but I didn't go there for a simple reason, everything that happened yesterday adds to division among the people. It's my aim and duty as Knesset Speaker to defuse the rift between people, and unfortunately what happened yesterday also added to divisions between people and leads to conclusions that are contrary to my own. They were saying at the rally that the political assassination was very successful, that Yigal Amir succeeded in his mission, so what is this if not encouraging political violence? I actually come to the opposite conclusion. I think this despicable political murder had no historical effect."

Edelstein was asked if he stood behind his statement and answered, "No historical effect. If he achieved any goal, then it was the opposite of what this despicable murderer aimed to achieve, and therefore I finally say and hope that today, not in decades, we'll all understand that the only conclusion of all that's happened is that all of us, Right, and Left, and Center need together not to blur political views, but to continue the debate. Also during the memorial days for Yitzchak Rabin, I don't change my stance. I remember people who were really close to Rabin and the Oslo Accords, such as Shimon Peres, asked me, 'Do you always speak against the Oslo Accords on the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin?' I told him yes, that was my position and that's exactly the point - Yigal Amir isn't the one who determines my political positions and neither does political violence make me change my political positions."