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Translation of the unabridged version of an
article published in Ma'ariv, October 31.

Uri Avnery on the 4.11.95:
The Real Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on Saturday night, the 4th of November. The changing of this date with some day of the month of Heshwan, according to the "Jewish" calendar, is a falsification.

Rabin was an atheist. He had nothing to do with the religious calendar. Not to mention the fact that the "Jewish" calendar is really a Babylonian one, and that its months carry the names of Babylonian gods. Why is the name of a Babylonian god like Tamuz more admissible than the name of a Roman colleague of his, Mars?

This is not an a propos remark. The transfer of the tragic date to the religious calendar is a part of the process that led Ehud Barak and the whole crowd of dignitaries at the graveside to put a Kippah on their heads. Why? Ben Gurion refused to use a Kippah even at funerals, and that seemed quite natural at the time. I categorically refuse to wear a Kippah at a state ceremony in memory of an atheist Prime Minister who was murdered by a Kippah-wearing fanatic after a long campaign of sedition by a Kippah-wearing gang of rabbies. Most of the leaders of the Kippah-wearing public did not participate in the day of mourning and rejected it outright. Why, then, did the Rabin family agree to this, if indeed it did agree?

This aspect of the official mourning was only a part of the ongoing change in the image of Rabin. He is undergoing a kind of post mortem operation that is changing his form. The mythological Rabin starts to look more and more like a catholic saint. It struck me when, on the official memorial day, I entered the local post office and saw a candle burning on an altar-like table under his official portrait.

This was a part of the deluge of kitsch, sweet mourning and false eulogies that swept us on the false anniversary date. I am all for an official date of mourning, but only if it is for the real Rabin.

The Rabin I knew, with whom I had a lot of disputes and whom I liked very much was an introverted, rough-edged, complex and self-doubting person. He was not a peace-seeker from birth. He was educated to see Arabs as murderers and rioters. At the beginning of the intifadah he ordered to break their bones - an order that was in many cases followed to the letter.

This Rabin opted for peace after a long and hard inner struggle. I followed this fight, because I discussed the Palestinian issue with him many times for 26 years. (Some of these discussions I published during his life-time, and he did not dispute their authenticity.) Step after step he neared the act that turned him into a historical figure: The recognition of the Palestinian people and its national movement. When he signed the agreement, he knew that it will lead to a Palestinian state. There can be no doubt about that: Already in 1976, when he was Prime Minister for the first time, he told me that "the first step towards the Palestinians will inevitably lead to a Palestinian state, and I don't want that."

At the age of 70, Rabin changed his entire mental world. Intellectually, ideologically and emotionally he started on a completely new road. After the first, hesitant handshake with Arafat, he internalized peace more and more, far beyond the written agreements. In his very last speech in the Knesset, while introducing yet another agreement with the Palestinians, he said "We did not come to an empty country", thereby become the father of the "new historians".

This Rabin is fading from memory, in favor of a dull and shallow figure. The rough-edged person, who did not shrink from controversy and who sacrificed his life in the struggle for peace, became after his death the patron-saint of "internal dialogue", "mutual understanding" and "peace within the nation", meaning giving up peace with the Arabs and the secular agenda in favor of a sticky brew of empty slogans. His controversial, historic act - the declaration of principles with Arafat - is almost eradicated, and its place is taken over by a nearly insignificant but consensual accomplishment - the peace with Hussein.

I protest. I want the real Rabin back, the Rabin who called the settlers "propellers" (he really meant "ventilators", an instrument that turns around itself, making noise and not producing anything.) The Rabin who said "I am ready to obtain a visa for going to Gush Etzion" (near Hebron). The Rabin who said "We did not come to an empty country". I hope that we shall remember this Rabin, and only him, without Kippah and nonsense, on the real anniversary day, November 4.

Schalom, Hawer.
haGalil 05-11-99



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