Yonatan Ben-Artzi, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's grandson, said Saturday night at the annual rally marking the anniversary of his grandfather's murder that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "owes us all peace." This is a basic mistake: The prime minister owes Israeli citizens, above all, security. At a time when Israelis are being murdered in cold blood by brutal terrorists, it takes a great deal of political blindness to sing "Shir Lashalom" ("A Song for Peace"), which for decades has weakened Israelis' stamina in the face of dangerous threats. So too the song about our leaders promising us a dove holding an olive branch. The dove was slaughtered in Oslo and the olive branch has withered.
It's a fact that false prophets have long spoken of peace, which never arrived. They knew the mystical power of the word "peace" and the Jewish longing to live at peace with our neighbors. It's been proven more than once that those who sow illusions of peace reap terror, and those who prophesy a New Middle East lead us to war.
Rabin's true legacy is the concern for the security and the future of the State of Israel. Rabin -- a military man and statesman -- dedicated most of his adult life to the persistent struggle for Israel's right to exist with defensible borders, a struggle that is ongoing. History will remember him as a chief of staff and prime minister who knew that our ability to survive in the Middle East depends on the establishment of a strong army with brave soldiers who are prepared to give their lives for the values of freedom and independence.
Rabin loved the Israel Defense Forces and despised left-wingers who spoke of it as an occupation army. These are the same people who monopolized his legacy and distorted it. A Left that has been captured by the orientalist romanticism of an illusory peace, diminishing young people's willingness to serve in combat units, principally through demagogically preaching about the occupation, the brotherhood of nations and purity of arms. The most ironic part is that it is specifically the periphery of Israeli society -- the religious, the Jews of Mizrachi (eastern) descent and new immigrants -- who continue his path in the IDF. These days, it is important to recall that Rabin loathed the phenomenon of emigration from Israel, Zionism was part of his essence. Many of his eternal eulogizers have left Israel and still preach to us about peace in our time.
In the spirit of Rabin's true legacy, it's important to remember that Israel is today in the midst of an existential battle over its future and security. Many in the world have grown tired of the tiny country that, on a map, is not even large enough for its name to fit within its territory. At times, one could get the impression that the global agenda has revolved around Israel for decades. Billions of people in the world have trouble understanding why such a dwarf of a country, the size of an inconsequential city in China, is the focus of so much attention. Its detractors are convinced that if Israel didn't exist, world peace would be realized and Islamic extremists would turn into pampered Persian cats.
Israel's current international isolation is due to its desire to continue existing. If Netanyahu were to announce that he was prepared to give up Jerusalem, Jaffa and Lod, there is no doubt that he would be embraced. An embrace so strong he would lose his breath. The prime minister of Israel is not supposed to garner international acclaim, his primary obligation is to the citizens of Israel -- even at the price of isolation.