There was a mass rally in Tel Aviv this past Saturday (10/31/15), in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated twenty years ago.
President Obama sent a taped greeting. Former President Bill Clinton was there in person to address the crowd of 100,000 or so in attendance.
Clinton and Rabin bonded during negotiations, under the rubric of the Oslo process, which seemed to promise that peace between Israelis and Palestinians was not only possible, but, many felt, close to inevitable.
(The Berlin Wall had fallen. Communism had all but evaporated. Could peace in the Middle East be far behind? Wasn't it in the cards?"
So it seemed.
The murder of Rabin by religious fanatic Yigal Amir, was one of the events, likely the most significant, that forestalled such an optimistic outcome.
Clinton (NY Times, "Israelis and Clinton Pay Tribute to Rabin at Memorial Rally," 10/31/15) stayed on message — Rabin's message:
"He refused to give up his dream of peace in the face of violence. The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Yitzhak Rabin was right, that you have to share the future with your neighbors ... that the risks for peace are not as severe as the risk of walking away from it. Those of us who loved him and love your country are praying that you will make the right decision."
Needless to say, Benjamin Netanyahu, who railed against the Oslo process when it was still young and able, and who attended, without protest, rightwing demonstrations in which Rabin was portrayed as the second coming of Hitler, did not attend this rally.
For now, for sure, it's Netanyahu one, Oslo nothing.
Netanyahu is not himself, personally, an ardently religious Jew. He rides on the coattails — the talits— of those who are.
Mark Twain remarked that altruism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
Were, the elder, cranky Twain, around now, he might add the refuge of religion is even worse.
Rabin was known as the most secular, as in irreligious, Jew many had ever met.
He's gone, isn't he?