Various speakers used the event to lay out their political agendas and butted heads over controversial statements made by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin, who opened the session, chose to outline his ideological differences with Rabin.
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"Rabin's political legacy was clear: to separate the peoples by dividing the country and creating two separate entities," Rivlin said. "I disagreed with him then and I still do now. I believe the concept was erroneous. It is inapplicable. The idea of separation has failed."
Rivlin nevertheless remarked that he misses his longtime adversary. "I miss arguing with him," he remarked.
Yachimovich and Rivlin (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
His statements irked many Labor and Meretz Knesset members who attended the session. MK Orit Zuaretz said, "This is a eulogy for the democratic State of Israel." Other Kadima members accused Rivlin of addressing his statements to Central Likud Committee members as part of a primary campaign.
Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said in her speech, "Rubi, you have sent us back to the deep divide diving Israel. It's such a dangerous position for the Zionist vision."
MKs observe moment of silence in Rabin's memory (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also responded to Rivlin's statements. "Rabin's legacy is greater than any political act he may have undertaken. It is about the very essence of Zionism.
"Rabin realized that only a two-state solution could guarantee the future of the Zionist enterprise. Any other way will invariably lead us to a bi-national or undemocratic state.
"I am positive that Rivlin is a democrat and I suggest that he ask himself what happens when millions of Arabs vote for this assembly. Rabin understood that veering off the two-state route will be the end of Zionism not the beginning of our redemption."
Netanyahu addresses Knesset (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset and spoke of the deep appreciation he felt for Rabin as a young politician.
"In a meeting we held I was struck by the profound sense of responsibility that Rabin had for the security of Israel's citizens. We disagreed on many points but we also agreed on quite a few issues."
The prime minister stressed that "on this poignant day we must remember that the fact that our political adversaries disagree with us does not mean they care any less about our country and its future."
Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz discussed israel's failure to draw lessons from Rabin's assassination and claimed it is not immune to another political murder.
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