Here is a moving story my mother told me about the meeting between Yitzhak Rabin and Bundist Marek Edelman.
When my mother [the late Shulamit Aloni] was Israeli Minister of Education, she travelled to the Warsaw ghetto as part of a delegation with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The Polish side included among others Lech Walesa and [Deputy leader of Warsaw Ghetto uprising and lifelong Bundist] Marek Edelman. When it became clear to my mother that Rabin was refusing to shake Edelman’s hand, she could not suppress her anger. She scolded him almost like a child: “Yitzhak,” she said, “are you not ashamed of yourself? Possibly the last brave warrior of the Warsaw Ghetto and you’re hiding your face, you go shake his hand!”
Rabin mumbled something about his mother, “Red Rosa,” not forgiving him for reconciling with Bundists. But my mother insisted and said to him, “Go!” He shook hands and embraced Marek Edelman, and began to talk to him in Yiddish and there were tears in both their eyes. Two fighters — a Bundist and a Zionist — both crying in Yiddish.
At the time when I heard the story I thought, perhaps that inside every tough Sabra with blood on their hands there hides a Yiddish speaking Bundist soul which believes in class rather than ethnic solidarity. Perhaps the assassination of Rabin by the fascist Jewish Right prevented the last opportunity for the tikkun (repair) of the Zionist Israeli soul . . .
As Marek Edelman said: “A Jew is someone who protects the weak.”
Translated by Sol Salbe