Today in the Jewish world it is the twelfth of Heshvan, the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at the hands of the Jewish terrorist, Yigal Amir.
I use the word, “terrorist,” purposely. He ranks with the worst of the Palestinian terrorists who have attacked Israel over the years.
Amir’s savage act of barbarism scuttled the hope for peace that burned so brightly in 1995.
Since those days of hope, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has flung the hopes for peace so far back into the shadows that they are almost out of sight.
Make no mistake, Netanyahu has done wonders for Israel’s economy. He has opened markets around the world, cut taxes drastically and made Israel into a far more prosperous nation than it was before. He has held the office of Prime Minister longer than anyone in Israel’s history.
He is also under investigation on serious charges of corruption.
Worse than that, he has hurled Israel from the brink of cooperation with the Palestinians–who also lay claim to our land–to the shoals of terror, mistrust and confrontation. Thus, staining the conscience of the only Democracy in the Middle East, and of the Jews like me and others around the world who support her.
We support her because we believe there should be a tiny Jewish State in a vast sea of Arab/Islamic hegemony. We have known what it is like to live or die for 2000 years at the “by-your-leave” of rulers. These rulers whom, with every turn of the economy, transformed their Jews into pariahs who faced persecution, isolation, forced conversion, expulsion or extermination. Forgive us that we will never willingly give up sovereignty over the one tiny sliver of real estate where Jews control their own destiny.
The greatness of Yitzhak Rabin is that he recognized, after years as a hardliner, that living in peace was better than living under a state of siege.
For that, his political future was in dire jeopardy while Benjamin Netanyahu fanned the flames of violent protestations of the concessions for peace Rabin’s government had agreed to make. Netanyahu exacerbated the distrust of many Israelis who — from bitter experience — were unwilling to trust that our enemies could become allies.
Indeed Rabin’s widow, Leah Rabin went on record as pointing the finger at Netanyahu for encouraging the atmosphere of anger that led to Yigal Amir’s barbarous act.
Amir will spend the rest of his life in prison, but in the words of Brenda Lee, “That don’t right the wrong that’s been done!”
On this sorrowful anniversary I cry for what might have been.
I will never abandon the hope that peace will come, and I pray that leaders on both sides will soon realize as Yitzhak Rabin realized: It is our destiny as Jews and Palestinians to share this land and to proclaim as Rabin did:
“Enough of war…Enough of bloodshed, Enough.”
And I pray that these leaders create two independent states that live in peace, harmony and mutual cooperation with one another.