08 April 2000

Murder in the Name of God

Murder in the Name of God: The Plot to Kill Yitzhak Rabin by Michael Karpin and Ina Friedman. (Granta, £8.99 in UK).

Book Review

Patrick Comerford

Yitzhak Rabin was the sort of man who should have been a life-long hero in Israel: as chief-of-staff of the Israeli army, he was responsible for Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, and, despite the claims made for Moshe Dayan, for the capture of Jerusalem and the West Bank. He was known as “Mr Security”, and was keenly aware of Israel’s security needs. But the Oslo peace accords with the PLO and his White House hand-shaking ceremony with Yasser Arafat made him an immediate target for vilification and hatred among those who had once hailed him as their hero.

When nationalism and religion mix, they inevitably produce a poisonous cocktail. Karpin and Friedman, two leading Israeli journalists, trace the vile campaign and incitement that lead to Rabin’s murder in September 1995, and paint a chilling picture of his murderer, Yigal Amir, and the intellectual, spiritual and political world to which he belongs.

The authors argue that Amir is not the only one to blame for Rabin’s murder and trace the political, social and financial links between right-wing Orthodox Jewish organisations in the US and the right-wing groups that pilloried and protested against Rabin in the weeks leading up to his murder. This new edition has a valuable after-word on the election defeat of Benjamin Netanyahu and the difficulties facing the current Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak.

This book review was published in ‘The Irish Times’ on Saturday 8 April 2000

No comments: