Rehavam Zeevi
Rehavam Zeevi Flash90

The Knesset will dedicate a special session today in the memory of slain Tourism Minister Rehavam "Gandi" Ze'evi. Today marks 15 years since he was murdered by Arab terrorists at a Jerusalem hotel.

But a number of opposition members have declared that because of the allegations pushed in in a Channel 10 report, they will boycott today's session. The Meretz faction was the first to announce this and later a number of other opposition MKs joined them. The Joint Arab list also announced that it would boycott the session.

Meretz do not intend merely to boycott the Knesset session and are planning tomorrow to present a proposal to abolish the budget allocated by the Knesset to preserve the heritage of Rehavam Ze'evi.

At the session today there will be speeches by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home). Channel 10 reported that the Knesset told the family that the session might be sparsely attended and suggested cancelling it, but the family refused to cancel it.

Former MK Yael Dayan who testified in the program said that the sessions in memory of Ze'evi were "superfluous".

"A serious mistake has been made here and it must be rectified. The mistake is turning Gandhi into a national paragon, a positive symbol. This is a disgrace and it must be eradicated. The mistake must be rectified. Gandhi should be remembered and not disparaged after his death but from a national point of view we should erase this stain which shames all of us, "said Dayan in a Galei Tzahal interview.

Rehavam Ze'evi was an IDF general and the outspoken head of the Moledet party.

He advocated 'voluntary transfer' - paying Arab residents of Judea and Samaria to emigrate and take up residence in new countries where they could feel more comfortable, at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer.

He was also sharply opposed to the Oslo Accords, and led and participated in many protests against them. In 2001, he was appointed Tourism Minister in the government of Ariel Sharon – the first government position he took in over a decade - after he resigned from Yitzhak Shamir's government when Shamir agreed to discuss Israeli concessions at the Madrid Conference. Despite his firmly right-wing views, Ze'evi was a longtime comrade of murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, with whom he served heroically in the pre-state Palmach fighting brigade.

His nickname, Gandhi, according to legend, was given to him by Palmach members, who said that Zeevi looked like the Indian leader when he wore long Arab-style robes during his undercover work in the Palmach.

Zeevi was murdered at the height of the Second Intifada, as he left the Hyatt Hotel on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. Zeevi's murder was organized by top Arab terrorist Ahmad Saadat, one of the few terrorists Israel refused to release in the deal to exchange over 1,000 terrorists for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

An expose by the Channel 2 TV program “Uvda” in April 2016 included unproven allegations against Zeevi of sexual harassment and connections to the underworld. Zeevi’s family opposed the broadcast, and filed a petition - which was rejected - to prevent the airing of the expose, claiming that it was unfair that Zeevi was no longer alive to defend himself against the allegations, and that police investigations into criminal ties had proved fruitless.

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us