Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the left's claims that he took part in the incitement that led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 24 years ago.
At the state memorial ceremony held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Sunday, Netanyahu said, "The debate over the Oslo agreement was fundamental, vehement and above all - legitimate and necessary. What wasn't legitimate was calling Yitzhak Rabin a 'traitor' or a 'murderer.'"
"In the years since the murder, I hear the false claim that when a fanatic from a camp that opposed Oslo called Rabin [a traitor and murderer], I stood there and remained silent, failed to respond and even encouraged it. I've heard these words even here - next to Rabin's grave - explicitly and implicitly at almost every memorial. But a lie that is repeated many times does not become true."
"Here's what I said then - over countless deaths: No, Rabin is not a traitor. He is wrong, but he is not a traitor."
"At a demonstration at Zion Square, I said, 'Not these calls, calm down.' In the Knesset, a month before the murder, I said: 'The phenomenon of calling Israeli leaders traitors or murderers...These are things that have always been invalid.'"
"Although I respected Rabin, and I'm not merely mouthing those words, I disagreed. I conducted a very serious debate with him, and by the way, not over every issue. When he signed the peace agreement with Jordan, I backed him warmly. But regarding the Oslo Accords, yes, I represented a very large portion of the Israeli people who opposed the results of the government's policy, who severely criticized the government. Criticism is permitted in a democracy and even necessary. There is no party who is above criticism, and I say the same about the issues in today's headlines. Criticism is not a danger to democracy."
"Something else happened 24 years ago - an attempt to purposely associate an entire camp with the actions of a radical faction. Such calls - of traitor and betrayal and calls for murder - are heard also today. But it doesn't occur to me that anyone would blame the whole camp from which these calls come."
"Yitzhak Rabin acted according to his conscience. I know that. I knew him. I also liked him. The first meeting we had - almost 45 years ago in the Prime Minister's House - when I met him with my late father, I respected him because I knew he was following his conscience. He believed that the Oslo accords should be given a chance. I, as the leader of the opposition in those days, also acted according to my conscience. I presented the approach that said: Palestinians should not be handed over territories that will serve as bases of attack against us, especially when they refuse to recognize the right of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people."