'At Least He Listened,' Rabin-Opponent Says

MK Uri Ariel, a former leading member of the Yesha Council and top Yesha activist, has positive memories of working with Yitzchak Rabin.

Hillel Fendel ,

MK Uri Ariel, a former leading member of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council of Jewish Communities, has positive memories of working with Yitzchak Rabin.  "The attentiveness we found on his part no longer exists," Ariel feels.

Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine's Uzi Baruch to mark the 12th anniversary of Rabin's death, the National Union Knesset Member said Rabin always left his door open for political opponents.

"He was focused," Ariel said. "When we talked with him, he didn't allow any phone calls or other disturbances; at most, a coffee break.  We had major disagreements with him, but he paid careful and serious attention...  After all, he is signed on the establishment of several communities in Judea and Samaria, as part of his coalition arrangements...  Not like [another Prime Minister], whom you can talk with and find him looking up soccer games as you talk..."

Rabin was elected Israel's Prime Minister, for the second time, in 1992, and a year later he signed the Oslo Accords in which he committed Israel to giving away large chunks of Judea, Samaria and Gaza for the purpose of a Palestinian "entity." 

Rabin: Let Them Meet the Shabak Chief
MK Ariel recalled an incident in which he and other settlement leaders wished to present their positions and security warnings about the Oslo process to the Shabak (General Security Service). "We were told by Rabin's military secretary, Danny Yatom [now a Labor MK - ed.] that he would pass on our message to the head of the Shabak, and would then return to us with his response.  But when we met with Rabin and told him about, he said, 'It can't work this way,' and he instructed Yatom to arrange direct meetings for us with the Shabak chief."

"In one of the meetings, the Shabak chief told us that our demonstrations against the Prime Minister outside his house had incidents of strong 'incitement,' and we told him that at the protests that we organize we don't allow incitement, and that if these protests were not permitted, a vacuum would be created which dangerous extremist elements would fill. The Shabak people didn't agree so much, but in the end I believe we succeeded in convincing them."

Rabin's Antagonism
Rabin is thoroughly remembered in the nationalist camp for his open antagonism towards the right-wing camp.  He said, for instance, that his opponents could continue to "spin like propellers" as far as he was concerned, and said openly that he was Prime Minister of 98% of the nation, not the 2% who so strongly opposed him.  (Another version of his remarks has it that he said his job was to provide security to 98% of Israel's population.)

MK Ariel said that after such invective, "I asked his top aide, Eitan Haber, why he was using such a style; what purpose could it serve? Haber said, 'Believe me, when we write his speeches, they don’t have those comments, but the Prime Minister is a redhead, a bit excitable, and when an MK says something that gets him worked up, he gets that way.' So I told him that that's precisely the problem, that as the head of the government, the Prime Minister has to be more careful and composed."

Map-Making Magnanimity
Ariel remembers Rabin favorably from the map-making process of the Oslo implementation period.  "At the time, they were drawing up maps of Areas A, B and C - the areas that would and would not come under Palestinian control - and we demanded that our opinions be taken into account as well.  So Rabin agreed that our representative [Ze'ev Hever, known as Zambish] could be there, and in fact he noticed some very important things and recommended some important changes - which Rabin accepted - that saved some communities from being nearly totally choked off.  For instance, Tekoa-Nokdim and Karnei Shomron - mistakes that were not done purposely, but only someone who lives there could notice the ramifications."

Left-Right De-Legitimization
Asked if he senses an attempt by the left-wing public to de-legitimize the right-wing camp by assigning it collective blame for the murder, MK Ariel said, "Yes, there is such an attempt, but I can say that I myself never felt guilty.  The very night of the assassination, I convened a meeting of the Yesha Council, not because I felt guilty, but because I feared that we would be targeted.  I think that everyone, including the left-wing camp, should try to do a self-reckoning, and the quicker this happens, the faster we will merit the arrival of our righteous Messiah."