On Yom Kippur Eve in 1995, a number of people gathered outside of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's residence, including Rabbi Yosef Dayan and Avigdor Eskin. They performed an ancient Aramaic ceremony entitled 'Pulsa Denura', invoking the prime minister's death.
"We have the permission to call on superior powers and are allowed in this place to demand the angels of destruction stick their swords in this evil man," they chanted.
But 15 years after Rabin was assassinated, just a month after the death curse ceremony, rightists who took part in it have no regrets. On the contrary, many say, it is the Left that should be engaging in self-examination.
Rabbi Yossi Dayan says the annual ceremonies commemorating Rabin's death are a "festival", citing the lack of mourning rituals for the deaths of Rabbi Meir Kahane, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi.
Dayan called the ceremonies "a well-directed, well-funded move to degrade the Right", explaining that Rabin "was hated by everyone, Left and Right".
"No one liked him. He was patronizing, evil and unwise. He wasn't that great of a person, but was one of the gang so he succeeded. The first to hate him pathologically was Yigal Alon, so it wasn't us, it was Left amongst themselves," he said. "He was killed after bringing on (the Oslo Accords), terrorists, and perdition."
A personal question: Do you hate Rabin?
"Utterly, yes. Read the text of the Pulsa Denura. It says he has done nothing good, and all the curses of the world must rain down on him, he must eat his excrement and drink his urine. I hate him because lovers of God must hate evil and that man was evil, no matter what you say, he was evil and stupid. Can someone describe the 'Rabin legacy'? Why was this stupid word unheard of before he was killed?"
In calling for his death, are you not invoking a murder?
"I can ask, pray, or wish, but God decides whether to accept this plea."
What did you do on the night Rabin was killed?
"I spoke with a great rabbi on the phone. There was a news update and I told him Rabin was murdered. He said, 'Oh, no.' I asked, 'Why not? It's great', and he said, 'Peres will come.' I ended the call, listened to the news again, and drove to Rachel's Tomb. I went to unleash my joy in an ecstatic dance. He led an entire people to loss and destruction. The murder or his departure – but not Yigal Amir – stopped this train."
What do you do now, on the day commemorating his murder?
"It interests me because I like to see how low the Left can go, and even you, as a member of the press, which does not seek out truth or desire to hear the truth. The other problem is that the Left's attitude has broken the settlers' will. In order to refrain from being accused for the murder they were willing to do anything the Left wanted, for example their expulsion from Gush Katif. Why are 16 of my family members, or the rest of the Gush Katif residents, to blame if Yigal Amir killed Rabin?"
How do you feel about the murder?
"I don't know. I only care about one thing: he is not alive – that's good. (former Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon is not functioning – that's good."
Who do you hate more, Sharon or Rabin?
"Rabin, because he did it out of hatred. Sharon did it in order to save his skin. It's totally different. What Sharon did was bad, otherwise I would not have performed the Pulsa Denura for him, but Sharon did one thing that cannot be taken back – even (Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi) Livni and her friends cannot demolish all of the settlements."
'Kahane was right' posters (Photo: Oren Rosenfeld)
'Yigal Amir is a genius'
Avigdor Eskin has been imprisoned since his participation in the curse ceremony . He was convicted of orchestrating the laying of a pig's head on the grave of Sheikh Izz a-Din al-Qassam in the Muslim cemetery in Nesher, as well as the torching of a leftist organization's branch in Jerusalem.
Looking back, he recalls the moment he learned of Rabin's assassination. "I had no joy at the death of Rabin, I actually had affection towards him. On the other hand, it ended a trap that could have led us all to a terrible demise. Actually, Yigal Amir saved the lives of many Jews here. My main emotion at the time was that the Jews had overcome the Israelis," he says.
And Eskin, too, does not regret the death curse. "If I had to go back I would gladly do it again. For me it was a noble move that I am proud of and my grandchildren will be proud of," he says.
Will you consider enacting a Pulsa Denura on Netanyahu as well if he renews the freeze or evacuates settlements?
"I can't see myself participating in such an initiative. There are one-time things that must not be repeated. This is not a system that should exist in our society. It is a last resort, for when all else has failed and a prime minister declares war on part of the people. That is when a move like Yigal Amir's will be made, as a defensive measure."
What does Rabin Memorial Day mean to you, 15 years after the fact?
"This day marks a crossroads in my life. From that moment I suffered acts of revenge, was thrown in jail and all possibility of employment was closed off to me. As far as I'm concerned it's a day like any other. All I can do is remind my friends that we are still in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and that's thanks to a man who stuck his neck out for all of us."
What do you think of Yigal Amir?
"The man is a genius. He understands the Torah, has a good heart, and is unimaginably gentle. He is a man who spearheaded the public efforts against the Oslo Accords. Where the Torah law is concerned he should not be in jail at all, but even according to Israeli law a man convicted of murder serves 25 years and after seven years is no longer isolated. These rights were taken from him."
'Conflicts shouldn't be solved with guns'
But there are right-wing extremists who take a different approach to Rabin's assassination. "We don't believe conflict between brothers should be solved with guns," says Baruch Marzel.
Is there a chance for self-examination here?
"Since the press performs an examination of me on a daily basis, I prefer to deal instead with examining the press. We hit a difficult period of forced silence and political and ideological police persecution. Jewish blood was being spilled like water and instead of calming and uniting, the state's leader engaged in separatism and provocation, and he was the one who ended his life in such a fashion."
On November 4, 1995, Marzel's son was born. Afterwards he heard of the murder. "The first thing I told my wife is that we must prepare for my arrest, as occurred after (Baruch) Goldstein. It didn't happen, because I guess they understood that I have no connection to political violence. I don't accept this deed at all. I don't want problems to be solved with lead bullets, neither on the Left nor the Right," he says.
But on Rabin Memorial Day Marzel will be holding a ceremony of remembrance dedicated to Rabbi Meir Kahane. "I am now preparing for a memorial on the murder of a man who I believe is much more important, just and great," he says.
Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir sees Rabin Memorial Day as "the Left's attempt to profit from bloodshed".
"I actually think the Left should profit from some self-examination here. My lesson from this murder is that a leader must not treat his people dismissively."
In any case, he says, Rabin would have failed to bring peace. "Yitzhak Rabin's way lost in any case, and would have continued losing because the people are not dumb, they are wise," he concludes.
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