Benjamin Netanyahu has distanced himself from his son Yair’s tweets about assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which accused him of murdering Holocaust survivors and causing the death of 2,000 Israelis.
The Israeli prime minister said in a statement that he doesn’t agree with his son’s statements, writing that Yair’s “positions are his alone.”
Yair had claimed Rabin “murdered Holocaust survivors on the Altalena,” referring to a 1948 incident of fighting between the newly-formed IDF, of which Rabin was a commander, and the Jewish militia group Irgun. The incident involved the IDF shooting at the Altalena ship that had been carrying arms and recruits from Europe, but had offloaded its passengers before fighting began.
He also said that the former Labour Party prime minister “caused the deaths of 2,000 Israelis” when he brought Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat “and tens of thousands of terrorists” back from Tunis, Tunisia, where they were based before peace talks began ahead of signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
The since-deleted tweets were in response to Democratic Camp MK Stav Shaffir’s comments to an Israeli journalist that Netanyahu should not be compared to Rabin. “Rabin boldly led the country toward a peace agreement. Bibi is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” Shaffir wrote.
The Labour-Gasher Party said it was preparing a libel suit against the prime minister’s son over his remarks, and a protest was held at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday.
“The Netanyahu family never got down from the balcony,” Chairman Amir Peretz told the crowd, referring to Netanyahu’s appearance at protest where Rabin was called a “traitor” and a “Nazi” just weeks before his death in 1995. Netanyahu has long been accused of inciting violence against Rabin before he was killed by a right-wing extremist.
Rabin’s son tweeted that Yair’s accusations about his father killing Holocaust survivors was reminiscent of a notorious image of Rabin dressed in an SS uniform that circulated before his assassination.
“Don’t say you didn’t see it. Perhaps this time, the attorney general will act against those who incite?” he wrote.