Nov 23, 2011

Is Changing A Street Name Anti-Democratic?

Interestingly, MK Michael Ben-Ari recently proposed that the name of a city street in Ashqelon be changed.

Ben-Ari proposed that the name of Rabin Street in Ashqelon be changed to Moshe Ami street.

Moshe Ami was the recent victim in Ashqelon of a rocket attack from Gaza. Yitzchak Rabin had "promised" after Oslo that they would never dare shoot rockets at Israel from Gaza.

Considering how many rockets have been shot at us form Gaza, Ben-Ari felt it appropriate to rename the street after a local victim rather than after Yitzchak Rabin.

Even more interestingly, someone, a local activist, filed a complaint against Ben-Ari with the Knesset requesting he be sanctioned for harming democracy. Carmel Noy, the activist who filed the complaint, wrote to Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin saying that (briefly):

  1. The memory of Yitzchak Rabin is not specifically of him, but of the assassination and of the incitement and violence preceding it. Removing his name from different sites is an attempt to blur the discussion of democracy and give anti-democratic forces more strength.
  2. Yitzchak Rabin was a general, chief of staff, defense minister, prime minister and filled many roles in the building of Israel, and does not encapsulate itself in one statement from one agreement at Oslo. Ariel Sharon did more than just the disengagement, and Menachem Begin did more than just give Egypt the entire Sinai, and Moshe Dayan did much more than just err in the Yom Kippur war. Even without agreeing with what he did, limiting his entire memory to just one thing is narrow-minded and indicates demagogic though.
  3. Other prime ministers have run the country since Yitzchak Rabin, and you cannot blame him for everythign that has happened since. Had he not been murdered and been able to continue his work, maybe his promise would have been true. Many prime ministers have ruled since, each effecting changes along the way, and he cannot be blamed for everything since.
Ben-Ari responded that the request to change the name f the street name is a legitimate request to consider, and filing a complaint instead of discussing the merits or problems is another leftist attempt to silence the public debate.

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