Esor Ben-Sorek

November 4, 1995 — “din rodef”

4 November 1995

A night which we will never forget. A night which we are committed to remember all the days of our lives. The night when Kikar Malchei Yisrael (Kings of Israel Square in Tel-Aviv) was drenched in blood.

It was the blood of our respected prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory.

As he finished giving his speech a song, Shir LaShalom, Song of Peace, was sung by the large crowd gathered to hear the prime minister.

At that moment a 25 year old religious law student at Bar-Ilan university, Yigal Amir, took out his pistol and fired three shots at the prime minister who died 40 minutes later.

The many hundreds of people who attended the rally in the Square can never forget what they saw on that fateful night. An everlasting trauma.

The assassin justified his treacherous murderous act under a biblical law known as “din rodef”… the law of a pursuer. One who by his actions threatens the security of his people must be removed as a pursuer from the face of the earth. That was the sick reasoning of the disturbed mind of Yigal Amir.

While Yigal Amir was the culprit he was not alone in the discussions of his plan. Ohad and Avishai, his two friends, knew of the plot but did not notify the police. Had they done so Amir would have been arrested and prime minister Rabin would have lived a happy life together with his wife, Leah

Ohad and Avishai were taken into police custody and eventually freed. Their only part in the assassination was their combined negligence in failing to report their information to the police.. They did not believe that Amir would commit his intended plot. They thought he was merely talking foolishly. Fortunately, they were not involved in the treacherous assassination. Both of them continue to lead respected lives in their professions.

The haunted memories pained me as I read a recent edition of YISRAEL HAYOM. In it, the newspaper reported the arrest of a 40 year old man in the city of Hadera who publicized his wish for the assassination of our current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was a despicable thing to do. There is no justification for the man’s threat. The law of”din rodef” in no way applies to Netanyahu.

The suspect from Hadera sought to encourage those who read his thoughts on a physical permanent elimination of our prime minister. It was an act of insanity. Although thousands may disapprove of prime minister Netanyahu’s corrupt deeds and slanderous language, no sane Israeli would contemplate his assassination.

In earlier years I had voted for Bibi, the “darling” of Israeli politics. But following the reports of his alleged corrupt and criminal activities leading up to an indictment on three charges, I lost faith in him.

I was among many who thought it would be best for our country if he would step down and turn his office over to another respected senior member of Likud.
I had Gideon Sa’ar in mind.

In many of my articles I wrote of my disdain for Netanyahu who has brought shame and disgrace to our country. The legacy which his ego has yearned for will not and cannot be free of his condemnation.

And as Sunday of this week he will stand in the dock in Jerusalem’s criminal court where three judges will read aloud to him the essence of the charges. He will then be asked if he wishes to acknowledge them by his plea of innocence. “Not guilty !” says the indicted man.

The historic criminal trial of a sitting Israeli prime minister has no precedence. Netanyahu will be the first and the trial may last more than one year.

There will be no public viewing of the trial in process. Information we will receive will come only from our media and, no doubt, will be conveyed by personal opinions of the reporters.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought that a political assassination of a prime minister in Israel could be repeated.

There has been no news yet released concerning the identity of the Hadera man who made the threat.

He must bear the anger of every normal and decent citizen of Israel. His act is a disgrace to our democracy and to our freedom of expression.

He will obviously not be imprisoned for his life in view of the fact that he did not commit his intended crime. Nevertheless, he will spend many years in one of our prisons.

And who knows? Perhaps he will be put in a cell close to Yigal Amir. The two of them can discuss the law of “din rodef”, of eliminating the life of a pursuer.

But Bibi is not a pursuer. He is a defender of the State of Israel who has acted in a misguided manner for his role as prime minister.

Fortunately, thanks to our expert and efficient police force, we are spared the tragedy which befell Rabin. There will not be again a repetition of November 4, 1995.

I, like all of you, will spend many months reading frequent reports of the historic trial.

“Tzedek tzedek tirdof”. Justice and righteousness shall you pursue.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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