Vandals deface Tel Aviv monument to assassinated PM Rabin

By Haaretz Service and BPI President Moshe Katsav called Friday for those behind the vandalism of a Tel Aviv monument to slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to be brought to justice, and urged the public to attend the memorial service Saturday to mark his assassination.

Vandals painted swastikas early Friday on the memorial at the site of Rabin’s 1995 murder, the day before the rally to commemorate the eighth anniversary of his killing in Rabin Square, which was named for him after his assassination. One of the security guards at the adjacent city hall reported the incident to the police early Friday. Some of the black stones surrounding the monument had swastikas painted on them with silver spray paint. The banner on the stage erected ahead of Saturday’s event was also vandalized, with the words „Kahane was right” painted on it – a reference to the extreme-right Kach movement leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. Police have opened an investigation into the incident. Graffiti targeting Rabin and his late wife, Leah, was also painted on the Sha’ar Hagay overpass near Jerusalem and on buildings in Holon and Bnei Brak, Israel Radio reported. In Herzliya, the words „Kahane was right” were also painted on a wall in a public park near the home of Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, the radio said. Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum expressed outrage Friday at the vandalism. Yitzhak Rabin’s daughter, former MK Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, was quoted by Israel Radio on Friday as saying that it was time to hold a public debate on the issue of incitement and violence, before it was too late. National Religious Party MK Shaul Yahalom also slammed the vandalism, saying that „every attack on Rabin’s memorial was an attack on democracy,” Army Radio reported. Army Radio quoted Meretz MK Yossi Sarid as condemning the act, but saying that it was more important to catch those who had actually killed the prime minister than the vandals. The monument had previously been vandalized ahead of memorials for Rabin, and police had placed a guard in the area to prevent that from happening again. But the vandals apparently took advantage of the fact that the guard left the site at dawn. Ron Arad’s relatives to join rally Among those set to participate in the gathering Saturday at 8 P.M. are the relatives of missing airman Ron Arad, who will talk about the special bond between the Rabin and Arad families. Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Rabin-Pelossof will also be present. The roads around the square will be closed off from 6 P.M. to 11 P.M. BPI