In October 1995, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before thousands of right-wing demonstrators in Jerusalem’s Zion Square to deliver a stinging denunciation of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Oslo Accords he had signed two years earlier. “Death to Rabin! Nazis! Judenrat!” the demonstrators chanted. Many waved signs depicting Rabin dressed in Nazi regalia.
Concerned that Netanyahu would inflame an already dangerous climate, Israeli Housing Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned the hyper-ambitious politician, “You’d better restrain your people. Otherwise it will end in murder. They tried to kill me just now… Your people are mad. If someone is murdered, the blood will be on your hands… The settlers have gone crazy, and someone will be murdered here, if not today, then in another week or another month!”
Netanyahu ignored Ben-Eliezer, striding to the podium to chants of “Bibi! Bibi! Bibi!” and an eerily prescient introduction as Israel’s “next prime minister.”
One month later, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing radical and student at Bar-Ilan University, the ideological training ground of Israel’s religious-nationalist front. Rabin’s wife, Leah, refused to forgive Netanyahu, insisting he was at least as responsible for her husband’s murder as the extremist who pulled the trigger. [continued…]
A leading Arab educator in Israel has described the decision of Gideon Saar, the education minister, to require schools to study the Israeli national anthem as “a kind of attempted rape” of the country’s one-in-four Arab pupils. […]
Mr Saar’s initiative is widely seen among Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens as a further indication of the rising nationalistic tide sweeping policymakers. [continued…]