Remembering Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
It was Saturday evening, November 4, 1995 – the 12th of Heshvan, 5756 – when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin joined hundreds of thousands of Israelis at the square in front of Tel Aviv’s City Hall as the main speaker in a rally: "Yes to Peace; No to Violence.”
After joining the crowd in singing the peace anthem “Shir L’Shalom,” (Song of Peace), Rabin was headed down the steps toward his car when a Jewish assassin shot and killed him. The assassin, Yigal Amir, opposed the peace process that Rabin championed – a just solution for an end to the cycle of war and violence in Israel.
In honor of his 19thyarzheit (the anniversary of his death), Israelis are commemorating the assassination with two rallies at the same site, today called Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square). One was held over the weekend, organized by Rabin’s son Yuval and featuring former Israeli President Shimon Peres. A rally held this Saturday, November 8th, will feature Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as the key speaker. The event is being organized by the country’s youth movements from across the political spectrum, including that of the Israeli Reform Movement.
In acknowledging the importance of Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the head of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, had this to say:
“There is no choice but to raise the banner of peace and the two-state solution. All the lessons of Prime Minister Rabin’s murder still reverberate in our ears hard enough to show up and bear witness at these rallies, with our children, on the spot where they tried to kill simultaneously peace, democracy and the common denominator of humanity within all of us.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, also commented on the prime minister’s legacy:
“As we learn in Ecclesiastes, there is 'a time to seek and a time to lose.' On this, the anniversary of our loss of a great leader, we must come together to seek out his path toward peace and to both learn and teach from his example."
For more information on Prime Minister Rabin’s life and legacy, visit The Yitzhak Rabin Center.