I just finished…

…”Killing a King,” Dan Epron’s account of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Ephron was a reporter and bureau chief of “Newsweek” in Israel. His book is good, solid, garden variety journalism. It is a clear, concise, directly presented report of the events leading up to and following the murder. He does away with one or two conspiracy theories (always a point-scorer with me), but he does not allow himself much high-soaring flights of thinking or creative analysis. So the book is more steady than exciting. Maybe that is good.

Ephron believes that had Rabin not have been killed, he would have implemented the Oslo II Accords. (A full 13-page final agreement had been drafted two days before the murder, establishing full Palestinian sovreignity.) (How that would have worked out, the $64,000,000 Question, is of course anyone’s guess.) Ephron also believes that, if Shimon Peres had not lost the 30-point lead he held in polls over Benjamin Netanyahu before the election to determine Rabin’s successor, the same would have happened. But Peres lost by a half-point, and Israel was on its way to moving from, what Ephron terms “a secular… modern” state to an “ethnically chauvinistic… often messianic” one; and the Palestinians fell into worse straits.

It was interesting to me, in light of what I wrote last week about Attica and how “fear” works in liberal democracies to consider the effects of the Hezbollah shelling of Israel from Lebanon and the three Hamas suicide bombings, which killed 59 Israelis, on the election. Half-a-percentage point. It makes me wonder what effect a terrorist attack here before November will have on us.