Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where were you when Rabin was shot?

The following golden oldie is back for republication. It is not criticism in anyway of the late Prime Minister Rabin, rather a reflection of Israeli society.

Where were YOU when Rabin was shot?

The Forum

Jameel Rashid: Good evening! I'm Jameel Rashid, and welcome to "The Forum". This week marks the 14th anniversary of the death of Yitzchak Rabin. I suppose every Israeli remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard that the Prime Minister had been shot. Now, this week we have asked three Israelis, chosen completely at random, to come on the show and tell us their stories. What is your name, Sir?

Shlomi: Uh, Shlomi.

Jameel Rashid: Okay, Shlomi. Do you remember where you were when you heard that Rabin was dead?

Shlomi: I sure do, Jameel. I'll never forget it. I was a freshman at Hebrew University at the time, and I remember walking across the campus to go to class, and I heard a couple of guys talking. They were talking..

Jameel Rashid: [ interrupting ] Whoa, whoa, whoa.. hold on a second. How old are you?

Shlomi: I'm 25.

Jameel Rashid: Mmm-hmm.

Shlomi: So, anyhow, I was walking across the campus, right? And I heard these two guys..

Jameel Rashid: I..I'm sorry, Shlomi. I don't mean to interrupt you again. You were 11 years old, and you were a freshman at Hebrew University?

Shlomi: No, no, no, it was last year, I was 24. Anyhow, I was walking across campus, and I saw these two guys talking..

Jameel Rashid: Hold on, Shlomi. Again, I'm sorry. Let me get this straight - you didn't know that Yitzchak Rabin had been shot for thirteen years?

Shlomi: Well, Jameel, you know, I was never really big, you know, on current events..

Jameel Rashid: We're talking about the Prime Minister getting shot, here! I mean, Yitzchak Rabin the Historic Leader of Israel, IDF Chief of Staff, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Founder of the Oslo Accords! How could you have missed it?

Shlomi: Well, you know.. I usually turn to the Sports page first. I like to catch that first.

Jameel Rashid: [exasperated] The Sports page?! This was one of the biggest stories of the decade!

Shlomi: Well, maybe it was a big story in Ramalla, but..

Jameel Rashid: This was not a local story! I can't believe this! Have you ever heard anything so stupid in your life?

Shlomi: [defensive] Yeah, well, I'm sure I know a lot more about sports than you do!

Jameel Rashid: Fine! Fine! [ turning to the next guest ] Uh, what's your name, please?

Anat: Anat.

Jameel Rashid: Tell me, Anat, how did you first hear that Yitzchak Rabin had been shot?

Anat: Well, Jameel, this is a little embarrassing, considering what just transpired here.. but, uh.. he told me. [points to Shlomi]

Jameel Rashid: What?!

Anat: Backstage. Just before the show.

Jameel Rashid: You mean, you didn't know about the Rabin assassination until tonight?!

Shlomi: [ laughing proudly ] What a tembel (dork), Jameel!

Jameel Rashid: Have you people been in a coma, or what?

Anat: Well, I.. I must have been watching another channel..

Jameel Rashid: [ outraged ] Another channel?! It was on all the channels! He was the Prime Minister, for God's sake! Everybody on Earth knew about it the day it happened, except for you two people sitting right here!!

Third Guest: Uh, excuse me. Are you people talking about Yitzchak Rabin?

Jameel Rashid: Yes!

Third Guest: Oh, what. Did something happen?

Anat: He's.. he's been shot.

Third Guest: Oh, no! No! No, he's been shot! [ starts weeping ]

Jameel Rashid: [ disgusted ] That's it for me. Join us next week on "The Forum", when our guest will be Shai Agassi, the founder of BetterPlace, the leader of environmentally-friendly, electric powered cars in Israel.

Shlomi: [ intrigued ] Wait a minute.. you mean, there are high tech companies…in Israel?

Jameel Rashid: [ angry ] Yes!

Shlomi: [ excited ] Alright! [ turns to Anat ] Give me five! I can't believe it! In Israel!


Postscript: I was a kid when this was first aired on Saturday Night Live in 1983, and could not forget it. It kept me laughing all night long. In the US, this was considered very funny at the time. You can be sure that there will be people in Israel who read this and will want to kill me. Oh well.

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Neshama said...

This whole idol worship stuff around Rabin is disgusting; the leftists will do anything to immitate the US (vis-a-vis Kennedy).

I remember hearing the almost immediate reports about the incident and I heard many allegations that have disappeared from everyone's memory since then; and so I tend to think they are the REAL truth.

Anonymous said...

You better be careful, or you;ll be arrested for incitement...

Michael Sedley said...

Wait, who is this Yitzhak Rabin of whom you speak, and with what type of camera film was he shot?

Was it a good shoot, has the movie come out yet? what other actors were shot in the film, which photographer or cameraman did the shooting?

RivkA with a capital A said...

To be fair, I think most Israelis do know where they were when Rabin was shot.

I know I do.

Whatever anyone thinks of him or his policies, he was the Prime Minister.

The bizarre conspiracy surrounding his death does not change the fact that his assasination was a shock to us all.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

RivkA: They had a radio interview on this topic last week with the head of the Sapir College. Most of the students there had no idea who the college was named for.

Do you know offhand?

JustGuessing said...

Edward Sapir, (January 26, 1884 – February 4, 1939) was a German-born American anthropologist-linguist and a leader in American structural linguistics. He was one of the creators of what is now called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. He is arguably the most influential figure in American linguistics, influencing several generations of linguists across several schools of the discipline.


Gee a Moron said...

It seems to me that the St. Yitzchak idol-worshipping-hate-the-different orgy is a bit less intense this year than in the past. I think it's the rightwatd shift in the country with the whole gamut of real existential threats looming. My son thinks its just a weariness of dealing with the same thing year after year. We both agree that the Kadosh Baruch Hu has a direct role in sending the first major rainstorm of the winter (may there be many more) just in time to postpone the central Saturday night rally. Once the timing is thrown off it won't be the same.

Commenter Abbi said...

I agree, I just didn't see this "Rabin-fest" that's been the concern of this blog.

Aside from that fact, I'm trying to understand- If it was up to you (or JoeSettler) would you have absolutely no memorial whatsoever? Would you consciously choose not to memorialize the terrible tragedy of a Jewish prime minister being assassinated by another Jew? I think that's a pretty sad event, regardless of the politics or even the consequences of the politics. This inability to separate the politics from the tragedy of the event says more about the people railing against the "Rabin-fest" than the "festivities" themselves.

All these comments and even this post really bother me. You can certainly vehemently have been/be against Rabin's politics and policies. But to be against the memorializing of his death? I think that's pretty low.

And I don't think enough years have passed for this satire yet. I think we need another 10-15 at least. It's still in poor taste.

jacob said...

Sapir College was named after Pinhas Sapir who was trade minister in the 60s and 70s and a Mapai MK.

Abbi -
You: 1 ; Straw man: 0.

Good job.

No one is against memorializing Rabin's death. People are against the manner in which the event is politicized.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Abbi: Satire is a kneejerk reaction to being compared to a Nazi by Rabin's grandson.

"“The youth-oriented newspapers of democratic Israeli movements, including the Likud, printed claims that Rabin's government was based on a path full of underhandedness, lies and deception. A demonstration in Jerusalem with the participation of leaders, some of whom are here today, went out of control, and in a manner which was terribly reminiscent of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, a wild mob went on a rampage of violence and destruction previously unseen in Israel. Despite all of this, a large proportion of the Israeli public supported the path pf Yitzchak Rabin and he was even chosen as Man of the Year in all of Israel's media. Great support also came in from the US, Europe and the Arab countries.”" (source)

If the Israeli public isn't allowed to differentiate between the tragedy of an assassinated Prime Minister in Israel and his political agenda (which I vehemently disagree with, then and today), then satire, as "tasteless" as it is -- is all that remains to retain some self-preservation.

The left, and Rabin's family refuses to even acknowledge that the infamous "Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform" was provided by Avishai Raviv, a Shabak plant. Yet they continue to hammer away at Israel's psyche that the demonstration at Kikar Zion was "terribly reminiscent of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany."

Any attempt to disagree with the political path and agenda of Rabin is portrayed as "an enemy of peace", "an enemy of Israel's democracy", and "incitement."

This is what provokes satire.

What I found interesting is the memorial held last week by Baruch Marzel, in which he clearly stated that political violence should never be used, and that the murder of Rabin was a tragedy. However, he clearly linked the failure of Oslo with the death of over 1000 Israelies who he mentioned as well.

If we cannot have the basic freedom of speech to disagree with political opinions, without being labeled as an enemy of the State, what do you expect?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

jacob: I doubt that many knew about Sapir without googling him or looking it up on Wikipedia.

Commenter Abbi said...

Jacob- none of the "rabin-fest" posts so far have mentioned the necessity of memorializing the tragedy or even the fact that it is a tragedy, so why am I to assume that it's a given, despite your cutesy comment? They've only dramatized this alleged anti-Right bias.

As for Rabin's grandson- seriously, who is he aside from Rabin's grandson? I don't consider him to be representative of the larger media establishment nor does he represent the opinion of the majority of Israel. I consider him to be a pissed off grandson.

So you've offered one example of "right wing terrorist" stereotype in the media.

I think on the whole, most Israelis are really beyond this. You will always have left wing extremists in the media and the government to hold up and say "Look, they're attacking me, whaaa". I don't think that really characterizes how most Israelis view the situation today.

Anonymous said...

Postscript: ... You can be sure that there will be people in Israel who read this and will want to kill me. Oh well.

Okay boys, we finally cracked this case once and for all! Lock him up for incitement to murder...

And seriously, screw Rabin and his dirty memory, the drunk Altalena anti-hero - as far as anyone with a brain knows, the jerk may as well have committed suicide.

Anonymous said...

The original SNL skit was meant to mock the ignorance and general civic apathy of Americans. Your adaptation of this skit to "satire" or trivialize Rabin memorial really falls flat. When reading it it just seems like a bunch of ignorant Israelis, as the original SNL skit was meant to convey (with Americans), not at all a humourous, satirical, or insightful commentary on JFK/Rabin memorialization.

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