Israel & the Assassination: A Reckoning
As a voter for the Labor party and Yitzhak Rabin in the 1992 elections and a politically angry man for the past two years, I found myself growing angrier and angrier the week after his assassination on November 4. The angrier I grew, the more I argued with everyone around me, and the more I argued, the angrier it made me. Not, like everyone else, at the assassin and those said to have incited him, but at the Labor party, and at the Israeli Left, and even at the murdered man himself, who was certainly not responsible for the thick sludge of sentimentality, so far from his own personal style (though not from that of his speechwriters), in which he was being quickly shrouded. I must have seemed a very unpleasant person. I may seem one to you now.
A large part of the sentimentalization in the days after the Rabin assassination lay in the event’s being treated as, above all, a violation of the Sixth Commandment. “How could such a murderer have come from our midst?” and “What Jew would kill a Jew over land?” were the two questions most often asked in Israel, while, when Ted Koppel brought his Nightline to Jerusalem the week after the assassination, he billed the special broadcast as “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”
About the Author
Hillel Halkin is a columnist for the New York Sun and a veteran contributor to COMMENTARY. Portions of the present essay were delivered at Northwestern University in March as the Klutznick Lecture in Jewish Civilization.