Netanyahu didn’t call Rabin ‘failed politician’ at funeral, says PM’s office

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Benjamin Netanyahu did not disparage Yitzhak Rabin at the slain prime minister’s funeral, as a former U.S. envoy to Israel recalled in a PBS documentary, the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel said.  

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued Wednesday that “these things never happened.”

The comments by Martin Indyk were aired Tuesday night on a two-hour documentary on “Frontline” titled “Netanyahu at War.”

“I remember Netanyahu saying to me: ‘Look, look at this. He’s a hero now, but if he had not been assassinated, I would have beaten him in the elections, and then he would have gone into history as a failed politician,’” Indyk quoted Netanyahu, then the opposition leader, as saying when the two were seated next to each other at the funeral.

Photos published Wednesday in several news outlets showed Netanyahu sitting between former Israeli President Moshe Katsav and businessman Martin Schlaff at the funeral. Indyk on Wednesday tweeted that the conversation took place earlier at the Knesset ceremony to receive Rabin’s coffin to lie in state.

Indyk also said in the documentary: “So I think even at that moment of tremendous support, a tragic moment of support for Rabin, Netanyahu was thinking, well, politically he was on the ropes before he was assassinated. He exploited that and ran against Oslo in the [1996] elections and beat [Shimon] Peres, but he only beat him by something like a half of one per cent.”

A statement by Netanyahu’s Likud party said: “This is another blatant lie by Indyk, who never stops discrediting and defaming” Netanyahu.

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