Thousands mourn Rabin, 10 years later
Updated: 2005-11-13 09:46
Tens of thousands of Israelis packed the Tel Aviv square where Yitzhak Rabin
was assassinated 10 years ago to mourn the former prime minister and express
hope that his memory would spur new peace talks between Israel and the
Thousands gather at
Tel Aviv's Rabin's square during a rally marking 10 years since the
assassination of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Saturday
Nov. 12, 2005. Rabin was killed by a Jewish ultra-nationalist on Nov. 4,
Rabin's killing by an
ultranationalist Jew opposed to the premier's peace efforts with the
Palestinians stunned the country, revealing the depths of Israel's internal
conflicts and badly damaging chances for peace.
"I loved him very much, and I was in awe of his ability to move from being a
soldier to being a peacemaker, a politician to a statesman," said former
President Clinton, who forged a deep bond with the Israeli leader as they sought
to broker Mideast peace.
"If he were here, he would say, 'There is enough of all this missing. If you
really think I lived a good life, if you think I made a noble sacrifice in
death, than for goodness sakes take up my work and see it through to the end,'"
Clinton ended his speech by saying "Shalom Haver," Hebrew for "Goodbye
friend," the same words he used to bid farewell to Rabin at the Israeli leader's
Security at the rally Saturday was tight, with 1,500 police and security
personnel deployed out of fear that Palestinians or right-wing Jews would
attack, police said. There were no reports of violence or arrests.
Mourners sang songs of peace, held candles and waved Israeli flags as they
remembered Rabin as a strong leader who loved his people and made the ultimate
sacrifice for peace.
Images of Rabin, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for signing the Oslo interim
peace accords with the Palestinians, played on a huge television screen towering
over the square where Rabin addressed a peace rally a decade ago, minutes before
he was killed.
"I stood here with him exactly 10 years ago. I was able to see what he saw,
you wonderful people, you young people jumped into that pool there, cheering
'Long live peace, long live Yitzhak.' He was moved to the depths of his soul by
that love and support." said Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who shared the Nobel
Prize with Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"I'm calling on you, get into political life and with your strength carry the
load of peace for the state of Israel," Peres said. "Peace is in your hands."
Many mourners had been here 10 years earlier, watching Rabin speak in the
square that now carries his name. Organizers said 200,000 people attended the
rally on Saturday — two days before the anniversary of Rabin's death on the
"This is not just the (memorial) for a man but also for a direction," said
Charles Abelsohn, 63. "By being here tonight, it will re-energize the peace
Rabin was shot and killed as he left the rally on Nov. 4, 1995, by Yigal
Amir, an extremist Jew who considered Rabin a traitor for making concessions to
the Palestinians. Amir is serving a life sentence for the killing.
Since his slaying, relations with the Palestinians have steeply deteriorated,
finally collapsing in a wave of violence that began more than five years ago.
Efforts to revive peace talks have faltered.
"It's been unbelievably 10 years since that dark day when we lost Yitzhak
Rabin and what I still believe is our best chance for a comprehensive and
lasting peace," Clinton said at a conference in Jerusalem before the rally. "Not
a week has gone by in those 10 years when I have not thought of his family, his
allies and Israel's struggle."
Amir Peretz, the new leader of Rabin's Labor Party, said Rabin's sacrifice
had not been in vain. "The way of Oslo is still alive and well. The way of Oslo
is still the path to peace," he said.
Even those from the other side of the political spectrum came to pay their
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, from the hawkish Likud Party, called Rabin a
"father, teacher, friend" and denounced the use of violence against political
Former Rabin aide Eitan Haber said that if Israel wanted to preserve Rabin's
memory "to walk his path of peace and security," Israelis of all political
beliefs should gather next year for another memorial.
"Tears have no political color, they are all equally salty," he said.
Many in the crowd were teenage members of youth peace movements who had
participated in seminars about Rabin's legacy before the memorial.
"Rabin stood for democracy and peace," said Tomer Ben Nun, 15. "I came here
because I don't want to forget."