Friday, November 03, 2006

Mar-heshvan II

Today, 12 Heshvan, is the eleventh yahrzeit of Yitzhak Rabin. I remember running ten miles from work to the Israeli consulate to sign the condolence book. The act of running was cathartic, an affirmation of Jewish strength honoring a man who personified Jewish strength, who was God's instrument of victory in the Six Day War. When I got to the consulate, a man from CBS News was interviewing people on the line to sign the book. I told the cameraman that I was opposed to the Oslo process before the assassination and still was, but that a Jew murdering the Prime Minister was disgusting and no good could possibly come of it.
That Shabbat, Rabbi Milton Polin, then at Kingsway Jewish Center and a past president of the Rabbinical Council of America, delivered the angriest sermon that I ever heard from him. "Murder is Arab business," he thundered, "It is not Jewish business." What did we gain, he asked? Shimon Peres? Is he any better than Rabin? I think subsequent events proved that he was much worse, not that murder would in any way be justified if he had been better. Before the assassination and since, Yitzhak Rabin was vilified as a traitor and worse by "men" who are not fit to shine his shoes. Was any of them responsible for the security of the state for one hour? Did any of them send young men into battle knowing that some would not return? Of course not!
A "traitor" betrays his country for money or some other personal gain. Prime Minister Rabin was genuinely convinced that Yassir Arafat was as tired of war as he - Rabin - was, and that "land for peace" was best for his people. He might have been wrong but if he was he could and should have been replaced the democratic way. Ballots not bullets.

We have Yitzhak Rabin to thank for this

Here's me at the Israeli consulate being interviewed by CBS before signing the condolence book:


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