Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering Rabin

A few day ago, on November 9, 2011 (the 12th of Heshvan on the Hebrew calendar) Israel took time to remember the life of its slain former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. It was 16 years ago on November 4, 1995 (also the 12th of Heshvan on the Hebrew calendar) when Rabin was shot and killed after giving a speech and making his way to his awaiting vehicle. The site where he was assassinated has been named after him and is today known as Rabin Square, the main meeting point in the bustling metropolis of Tel Aviv. You can see below Rabin Square, filled for Rabin's annual memorial.

President Shimon Peres, at Rabin's memorial ceremony a few days ago, stated that "most of the Israeli people support your [Rabin's] path towards a solution of two states for two peoples." What he is referring was Rabin's inherent goal of creating a divided state between the Palestinian and Israeli people. As you well know, this is an unending conflict. Though a majority of Israelis did and still do side with Rabin that there should in fact be two states (settled though peaceful means is the main issue), there exists a large minority that does not want such a compromise to ever happen. There are some extremist Israelis who wish for Israel to belong only to Israelis just as there are extremist Palestinians who want the land to belong only to the Palestinians. 

One of those extremist Israelis was a man by the name of Yigal Amir, a far-right-wing religious Zionist who strenuously opposed Rabin's peace initiative. Amir felt that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which Rabin was proposing on that very day in the Oslo Accords, would deny Israelis of their biblical homeland which Zionist Israelis had reclaimed by establishing settlements there. After Rabin gave his speech that day back in November 1995, an impassioned Amir shot and killed Rabin as he was walking down the steps from City Hall on the way back to his car. The country, and the world, was horrified. Especially at the notion that one of our own was the perpetrator. The pictures below show a young Rabin while serving in the IDF (left) and an older Rabin during the time of his service as Prime Minister of Israel.


This historic case encapsulates the magnitude of opposing viewpoints over the land that we call Israel. An unshakable issue, there will always be those who strongly feel one way or another over what should be done regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict. I would say that the majority of Israelis advocate the creation of two states shared by two people, whereas the majority of Palestinians are uncompromising in their refusal to cede any of the land. As you can see, it's a very delicate issue that will take an unbeknowst amount of time and history to resolve itself. 

For the time being, we remember and memorialize the life and work of Rabin who some believe was the closest we have ever gotten to establishing peace in this land.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to believe that Daddy & I were in Jerusalem on that fateful date in 1995. The whole country was in mourning, much like when Kennedy was assinated & Princess Diana tragically died. The world lost a good & wonderful man. Israel has done a splendid job creating this beautiful square in his honor.


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