a different side of Israel

Tag: Yitzhak Rabin (page 2 of 2)

Marathon Man

It seems like Israel’s oldest active politician, Shimon Peres (shown at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo in 1994) is still having a go at it like an aging Marathon runner, in regards to his plan to once again run for President of the State of Israel. Despite his age, 82, and the allegations against him concerning the way he recruited more than $320,000 in ‘questionable’ political contributions, the aging political icon just refuses to retire, and become a full-fledged pensioner.

And why should he, with the average of the members of the newly formed Pensioners being around 75, and party leaders like Rafi Eitan themselves either pushing or crossing the octogenarian mark. Though not a member of Eitan’s party, Peres, since his bolt from his 60 year membership in the Labor Party, has virtually embarked on a new political horizon; thanks to Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party. Peres is alleged to have received the quasi-legal contributions from some very affluent people, including billionaires Haim Saben, Bruce Rappaport, and Daniel Abrahams. Even though the receipt of the money is not considered illegal, the ethics of the circumstances surrounding the affair could have been a bit more “Kosher”.

Peres still intends to keep his hat in the presidential candidacy ring, however, and the question now is whether he will be able to achieve his goal, and come out a real winner, after so many times of winding up on the losing side. After all, his long political career, though colorful, has not exactly been a successful one. Though he has been Prime Minister twice, the first time in a shared national unity platform with former Likud Party leader Yitzhak Shamir, and the second time following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Peres has certainly had his trials and tribulations in the tumulus world of Israeli politics. Even his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize only happened at the last minute following the nomination of Rabin and Yassir Afafat. Perhaps it was Arafat’s winning a share of the 1994 Peace Prize that convinced the Nobel Prize Committee to include Peres in receiving the award that year.

Peres’ often frank and one-sided political views have often hindered him, especially in a part of the world; where Jews like himself are definitely not welcome – or wanted. It’s often been a visual reality that despite his overtures towards establishing peaceful co-existence with Israel’s Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians, these “neighbors’ just don’t want to be neighborly. Events following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and certainly since the beginning of the Second Intifada in September, 2000, clearly point this out.

Despite all of this, Peres continues to pursue his dream of working out a deal with the Palestinians, and other peoples in the region, and through his Peres Center for Peace he tries to continue a dialogue with more moderate elements in a less than moderate part of the world. Many people, including this writer, would like to believe there is a possibility of peaceful co-existence between Israel and its neighbors. Shimon won’t live forever, however; and one wonders who will pick up and carry the baton after he’s gone.


Lost Pride In Jerusalem

Gay Pride Jerusalem 2006
The police in Jerusalem is very nervous lately. They have sure threats that during the upcoming Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem there will be attacks on participants. The groups are organized and in some reports are supposed to have prepared “ammunition” including razor blade packed fruit, fire bombs and harsher stuff. The police have admitted they are considering calling the parade off, in essence admitting that the ratio of 250,000 religious fanatics to 10,000 cops is not a great ratio. There are supposed to be 5,000 participants in the parade and so that puts the ratio at 2:1, Police to participant.

I found this 2002 article covering the parade with then mayor Olmert:

“Mayor Ehud Olmert tried to convince organizers to hold the event in Tel Aviv, and seemed to regret his country’s system of government when he said that he had to allow the march to take place due to the rules of democracy. Ultra religious groups threatened to stop the march by “all means” including the flinging of rotten vegetables, but opted merely to boycott. The High Court of Justice had to force the dominantly Orthodox Jewish city to provide services, including police protection.”

So nothing much has changed, if anything maybe things got worse. ..

Last night 7 police officers were injured in a giant demonstration against the upcoming parade. Police officers were injured by rocks, pipes and acid thrown at them. The organizers of these demonstrations are warning of far worse the day of the parade and the police is still considering the options.

I am bothered by this, and not for any special feelings either way, but because this coincides so closely with another event. We are about to remember Yitzhak Rabin’s death. A murder brought on by severe differences of opinion and radical behavior by a group of people who felt that violence would solve all problems. I don’t think it has.

What’s worse is that we lost something that day and we passed a barrier or dropped to a new low. It was okay to kill and wound people for differences of opinion and it was acceptable to use violence to settle arguments or force an opinion on another group. 11 years after we crossed the barrier we see the results of that first act of violence – again and again….

Understanding Ariel Sharon

Ariel (Arik) Sharon
Recently published biographies of former Israel Prime Minister Ariel (Arik) Sharon, including a very intimate one by journalist and personal friend, Uri Dan, may help many to better understand the complexities and human qualities of the man who may one day go down in history as one of Israel’s greatest military leaders and statesmen. Dan maintained a close relationship with Sharon for more than 50 years; which only ended with the Prime Minister’s massive stroke in January, 2006.

Few politicians on the Israeli political scene have made their mark in a manner like the man who not only helped save his country in time of war, but who also has made monumental decisions concerning his country’s future direction in regards to peace. While this ‘new direction has not been accepted by many, including many of his former Likud Party political colleagues; Sharon finally came to the conclusion that the only way to reach a lasting peace agreement with Israel’s Palestinian neighbors was to agree to let them have their own national identity – i.e. statehood.

The human side of Ariel Sharon, including the shattering loss of his first born son, Gur, in an accident at age 11; and the death of his second wife, Lilly, to cancer in 2000, has also influenced him, especially in later life. Many people, myself included, have not fully understood this man who has loved his country and its people more than anyone ever could imagine; and who was prepared to make great sacrifices for its sake. Sharon’s love of the Land of Israel made some of his more recent governmental decisions, especially the disengagement from Gaza, even more painful to him. Many people close to him, including Uri Dan, feel that Sharon’s decision to give up the Gaza settlements, and the adverse reaction from so many Israelis, was what brought on the two strokes that finished him in the end.

Other biographies, Ariel Sharon: A Life, by Nir Hefez and Gadi Bloom (the English translation of the Hebrew version: The Shepherd), and Sharon: A life in Times of Turmoil, by Freddy Eytan, also detail the colorful and controversial life of this often misunderstood individual. But in the end, it is Gur’s long relationship with ‘Arik’ that is the most intimate, as this version goes deep into the heart and soul of the man who’s sudden departure from the political scene “has left people with a feeling of incompletion” not unlike the November 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was also criticized, and even castigated by many, for his agreement to peace with the Palestinians via the Oslo Accords. Sharon’s own life was also threatened by extremist elements, and this resulted in his having a minimum of six bodyguards constantly encircling him wherever he went.

Sharon’s legacy has yet to finalized, as he is still fighting for his life in a deep coma from which he is not expected to recover. But the idealism and love for his country will make its mark on Israel’s history, and for this soldier, farmer, and statesman who often stopped government cabinet sessions to rush to his farm upon learning of the birth of new members of his livestock. A ‘good shepherd’, he certainly has been.

“We had ‘normal’ sex!”

Larissa Trembovler (Picture by Ofer Amram for Ynet
Interviewed on media programs such as Channel 10, Larissa Trembovler, wife of convicted murderer, Yigal Amir, described her 10 hour connubial visit with her husband. “We had sex together like any normal married couple. I hope we will have more opportunities to be together in the near future.” While not going into graphic detail, Larissa seemed happy concerning her first intimate contact with Yigal, after so long a delay. The short liaison, carried out in a special room set aside by Ayalon Prison authorities for such allowed visits by spouses of convicted prisoners, provided the couple with a full sized bed, shower facility, and even snacks provided by the prison administration; plus soft drinks which Amir brought with him to their ‘honeymoon suite’ as many are dubbing it.

Whether or not this visit results in Larissa conceiving a child is too early to predict, especially due to her age, 39, and from their short time together. The former psychology professor already has four children from a previous marriage; and raising another child under the circumstances that he or she would the child of the man who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is psychologically problematic in its own. The fact that this event happened at all is a wonder as just a couple of months ago, even allowing Amir and Trembovler to have a child via ‘invitro-fertilization seemed unlikely to happen. Now, this request was surpassed by allowing them to have intimate physical contact, enabling Amir to “know” his wife and possibly “open her womb”.

Many individuals and organizations, including Peace Now, are vigorously protesting the allowance of this event to occur, even though it is now a ‘done deal’. The couple is slated to be allowed another such visit in six months time, perhaps sooner.

Many other convicted prisoners serving live imprisonment have not been allowed such a gesture, are one wonders why the governmental authorities relented in this extreme case. The Rabin family, for one, is very upset over this lenient gesture towards Amir being granted. And with the possible including of Avigdor Lieberman’s ultra-right wing political party into Ehud Olmert’s governmental coalition, many wonder what will happen next. Will a possible future right winged government decide that Amir was misguided into committing this heinous act, and should be set free? Or, perhaps, his wife will be hired as a prison psychologist and will be allowed to move to the prison and housed with Amir in special accommodations on the prison grounds? This entire tragicomedy may someday be made into a full length movie or docu-movie; and might even be directed by some internationally famous person like Michael Moore. To quote a song composed by the rock group Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1974: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

And yup, I suppose we haven’t.

Spawn of the devil is on his way

Yigal Amir had a 10 hour conjugal visit today with his wife Larisa Trembovler. The couple got what they wanted and are trying to have a child. As sickening as the idea is (and I honestly try not to think about these two vermin mating) the legal system in Israel had to allow this sick union.

Yigal AmirWhat is even worse is that this couple got to do what the government is not allowing other couples to do for various reasons. There are same sex couples, mixed nationality couples and others that the have no such rights according to the state of Israel and yet this pathetic couple get a chance to bring children to the world.

“Integrity should start from the very top”

What should we expect from our leaders? The question does not deal with our expectation of their abilities to make fundamental changes in the Israeli society, but rather on their role to be models by having the right personal traits we expect from leaders of countries.

Recently we were informed by the press, about many negative affairs which our foremost leaders are involved.
Such affairs include the president of Israel, the former minister of justice and other senior members of the leading party in Israel. I do not wish to get into the detailed accusations which were brought upon these public figures, but rather acknowledge the concerning situation in which, corruption and malfunctioning of the most praised politicians has become a common issue by daily basis.

Since ages, the Jewish people always believed that they are the chosen people, from all the different peoples on this Earth, by God. That was a good belief that had its grounds when we all were just part of the Diaspora. In 1948, once the Jewish dream was realized, we have learnt the hard way that we are not different from all other peoples and that, unfortunately, we encounter the same moral issues that are well-known in most western countries.

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“To be a free nation in our land”

The line above is taken from the Israeli anthem and probably describes best the sincere wish of every Israeli, with no regard to his skin color, socioeconomic background or religion. Yet after 120 years since the national anthem of the Israeli people called “The Hope” was written and 58 or so years after the state of Israel has declared its independence, the people of Israel find themselves once again struggling for their ancestral rights.

This summer, the state of Israel witnessed a major bloodshed due to a fierce battle with the Hezbollah terrorist group. The so called confrontation which resulted from a deliberate ambush by the Hezbollah which killed 8 IDF soldiers and the kidnap of 2 other IDF soldiers, led to escalation and a major regional war for a month.

The aftermath of this terrible fighting brought us all from both sides of the electric fence to one major conclusion: There are no winners in real wars (as opposed to wars in computer games), but rather countless losers and casualties. Both sides suffered terribly from the war and its consequences upon their economy, infrastructure and the well being of their people. I will not judge in this article who suffered more or who was to blame between the 2 involved states, since this is one of the most subjective judging that can be made. I would rather prefer to give you my perspective of the personal tragedy which this war has brought upon in first hand.

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A Matter of Perspective

During the midst of Israel’s last military confrontation in Lebanon, known then as Operation Peace for Galilee, The Israeli military had boxed the entire Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO) into a virtual corner in West Beirut, forcing their leader, Yassir Arafat, to agree to go into exile with other PLO leaders and a number of faithful cohorts, many of whom are still alive and active in the same organization, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazan). Israel had a golden opportunity to rid itself once and for all of the leadership of an organization responsible for numerous acts of heinous terror against the Jewish State since the PLO’s founding during the early to mid 1960’s. Israel’s agreement to let Arafat and Co. sail away into exile on a cruise ship bound for eventual docking in Tunis is history now, but one can only wonder what would have transpired in both Israel and in the areas known as the “occupied territories” had the Israeli military decided to rid it’s country once and for all of these people who, after a sojourn in Tunisia, were later allowed to return to their ‘homeland’ following a now defunct peace agreement known as the Oslo Accords.

That agreement resulted in Mr. Arafat being chosen, along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to receive the world’s most revered award for peaceful pursuits: The Nobel Peace Prize.

Both Afarat and Rabin are dead now, Rabin partially as a result of winning that esteemed award. And despite numerous gestures of good will on behalf of Israel, including pulling out of part of these ‘territories’, Israel now finds itself in the middle of yet another confrontation, not only with her old Palestinian enemies, but with an even more threatening and potentially dangerous adversary, the Hezbollah, led by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. In the coming days, it may very well be that the IDF will succeed in ‘boxing’ up Nasrallah and his ilk in a similar corner as Arafat and friends were back in July, 1982. Nasrallah, who has been Israel’s northern Public Enemy No.1 for years now, never misses an opportunity to rub his verbal ‘salt’ into Israel’s wounds, each time something occurs along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Since Israel pulled it’s army out of southern Lebanon in May, 2000, several events, including the kidnapping of three IDF soldiers, gave the Sheikh a virtual field day to direct his hate filled ‘lectures’ toward Israel and anyone else who oppose his grand plans to “Islamize ” the entire region, beginning with Lebanon. If he and his cohorts are not killed, but cornered as Arafat his PLO followers were, will Israel offer him the same opportunity to go into exile as well; possibly to Iran?

The events of the past two days have now given the Israeli government the ‘window of opportunity’ it has been looking for since its controversial dis-engagement from Lebanon. Will the window be ‘opened ‘ wide enough to accomplish the job of ridding both itself, and the world for that matter, of a very dangerous man and the organization he heads? Or, will that opportunity slip by and Nasrallah and Co. be allowed the same gesture, as Arafat was? If allowed to leave, perhaps, the Sheikh and a future Israeli leader may even stand together one day in that pristine palace in Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize as well. After all, back in 1982, who would have thought Arafat would have done so? Let’s all hope this possible déjà vu doesn’t come to pass.

Assassin’s Child: Yigal Amir Gets Permission from the Court

Yigal AmirYigal Amir’ recent petition to be allowed to have children, via artificial insemination, with his ‘wife’, Professor Larissa Trimbobler, has finally been accepted. After being denied the right of connubial relations in previous court hearings, Amir, sentenced to a life sentence in solitary confinement, believed that his basic human rights have been violated, despite the gravity of his crime. A group of appeal judges overturned earlier rulings, now allowing Amir and Trimbobler to conceive a child together by invirtro insemination. Yigal Amir, as we all recall, was Yitzhak Rabin‘s cold blooded killer and the man who single handedly killed one of the truly unique qualities that Israel held as a nation. – the feeling that we were all one people, that despite our differences we always behaved like human beings.

Since 1948, a number of notable capital crimes have been committed in the Jewish State, including those by parents to their own children, crimes by terrorists, and numerous others. The fact that this act of murder was perpetrated against a head of state, and was coldly and meticulously planned and carried out, makes the crime unique. Amir may very well be a “truly gentle person”, as his attorney, Ari Shamay, refers to his client. But this does not excuse the deed that was committed, no matter what the intended reasons were.

Yigal Amir is alive today simply because the Israeli judicial system does not advocate Capital Punishment, i.e. the death penalty, for Capital crimes. Although an exception was made in regards to the execution of convicted Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann, no other perpetrator of murders or similar crimes has been formally executed after being convicted by an Israeli court of justice. This includes a number of terrorists, both Arab and non-Arab, who committed very heinous crimes against Israelis during the past fifty seven years of Israel’s existence.

Let’s compare this record with that of other countries which still practice Capital Punishment for murders, heinous sex offenses, and other similar crimes. I’m referring to Western, democratic countries, and not countries where the value of human life is such that Capital Punishment is not only condoned, but actually commonplace. For comparison, therefore, let’s note what is occurring in the United States of America, where Capital Punishment is statutory and carried out in most of the country’s 50 states and territories. Although the method of execution for such crimes, by lethal injection, is now more or less universal in America, the fact that it is regularly carried out in many states, and without any appreciable decrease in the crimes resulting in this form of punishment, makes one wonder about the system of justice in a country priding itself on its system of jurisprudence.

Amir, for all his misguided “good intentions” and despite his wanting to “save the State of Israel from the evils of the Oslo Accords” still did what he did, and is paying the price for his actions. One wonders what would have happened to him had he been a U.S. citizen, living somewhere in the U.S.A, and committing the same deed against a sitting U.S. President. Americans did not have the chance to witness what might have happened to accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, following the slaying of President John F. Kennedy in November, 1963. Oswald himself was killed only three days later by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner who managed to enter the parking area of the Dallas police headquarters due to his being familiar with the Dallas Police Department.

Amir has alleged that his “basic human rights” have been violated, but not being able to create a child. He should actually be thankful that Israeli justice has allowed him to survive, study, and contemplate life’s mysteries; despite the gravity of his crime. What better ‘basic human right’ than that?

Amir Peretz, the man and moustache

Yesterday the Labour party officially announced their election campaign “dream team”. These are the people that will be in charge of the campaign, that if successful will get Amir Peretz to the position of Prime Minister. The “main man” called in was Stanley Greenberg, election polls expert and political consultant (hired gun) for Clinton in 92, Al Gore and John Kerry. As well he consulted Nelson Mandela, Gerhard Schroder and Tony Blair. In 97 he consulted on the Ehud Barak campaign for Prime Minister, unfortunately getting him elected in 99… To a certain extent I am pleased that Peretz is calling in an English speaking expert to consult him, and by the way I even saw a front page news item today announcing that Peretz is preparing another speech in English.

Anyone that remembers the last one will understand the significance of the announcement.

So following the announcement of the addition of the “Pro” to the election campaign effort, it occurred to me that I don’t know that much about Mr. Peretz. Thankfully, a personal interview on Arutz 2 last night with Amir Peretz provided a little insight into the man and the moustache.

Amir Peretz
So his original name is Armond (he made sure to pronounce it accurately), he is from Morroco (god help you if you need to look up the country) and he emigrated with his family by boat when he was 4 years old (1956). One of his first memories is getting lost on the boat, crying and getting a box of sardines from a stranger. He was returned to his parents happy with the sardine can he received and a strong sense of achievment.

As a boy he fell in love often, was involved and took part in everything around him. Hearing him you got the distinct impression that he was an active kid with a streak for trouble making and involved in everything (some would say that hasn’t changed). He was raised one of 9 kids, growing up in Sderot, a small town in the southern part of Israel and a Mecca for Qassam rockets fired from Gaza. In the 1960’s one of his younger brothers passed away of Leukemia, treatment was almost non existant and very difficult.

He lived in a small house 345 Sq Ft. (and his grandmother as well). Life was tough but they made the best of it, he describes sleeping head to toe in common beds. They had no bicycles and they needed to create their own games. He describes the tree camps that kids built back then. Israel wasn’t as populated and built up, there were more wooded areas and kids would stake out a neighborhood forest as the local HQ, build some tree houses, prepare spears and arrows and develop a mini hierarchy. Sort of like Lord of the Flies but without the island. He was a lieutenant in the group. His older brother was commander.

He also described the lack of means as a source for creativity. I actually remember this part myself (shit..). Going to auto shops and getting from them large ball bearings, placing them at the ends of planks on both ends of a flat board (seat). Sort of like a street cart. Then rolling them down a hill, making a tremendous amount of noise. It was fun and I concur.

In the army he was a captain and was badly injured in the Yom Kippur war when an armored personal carrier crushed his lag. He was in hospital for a year (saw a picture of him grabbing a nurse – it was tasteful though..). He came out of the army with a permenant disability and had to decide between owning a gas station or going into farming. He chose farming, bought a Meshek (farm) in Moshav Nir Akiva and began growing roses (specializing in Vingo Roses), garlic and other stuff. He is known as an expert farmer and grower and would much rather discuss roses.

Apparently he managed to grow some type of Garlic that was in short supply and his first harvest was a great success, allowing him to furnish the entire house in one purchase. Until today the chest of drawers in his bedroom is from that first harvest.

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Slick Willie Does Jerusalem!

By Denis Schulz

Ex-president William Jefferson Clinton has been out of the loop for about five years now. That’s a long time for a politician but he still gets around quite well for a gentleman of his advanced years. He was in Jerusalem last week to honor the late Yitzhak Rabin on the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. On Saturday (Nov. 12) Slick Willie spoke to an admiring throng at the King David Hotel. These are not his exact words but they are close and may well reflect his inner thoughts.

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Star Wars and other assorted fruit with 118 days left

The Maariv headline today says it all – “Star Wars” is right. Now try to keep up, the hand is quicker then the eye.

Maariv Headline Nov. 30 2005

The old news, literally, is that Shimon Peres, one of the founding fathers of the Labour party, a man who stood shoulder to shoulder with Yitzhak Rabin and was among the leaders of the Oslo initiative – has left the party and is joining Kadima, Sharon’s brand spanking new party. These discussions started right around the time that he LOST (again) the Labour party leadership to Amir Peretz. Say no more.

So if we are discussing Kadima (Forward in Hebrew) then there have been other star additions. One of the founders of Shinui (Change in Hebrew), Professor Ariel Reichman (Dean of the Law faculty in Tel Aviv Univeristy) has decided to defect and move to Sharon’s party. He also got a promise from Sharon that he will be the next Minister of Education in the new government. Apparently, the leader of the party, Yosef Tommy Lapid is a little overpowering and the defecting member has been complaining about the loss of the democratic process within the party. Some say that the party has officially died with this move and to make things a little more official, a Knesset member, one of the party’s ex-members, got on the stand and said a quick verse for the dying.

Sharon also called in the troops these last few days. 72 local government leaders were invited for a gathering with Sharon and were asked to join the new party. There has been a good response so far. The new members are ex Likud and ex Labour party members.

Shaul Mofaz has not agreed to make the move to Kadima and that apparently has been a little difficult for Sharon to accept. Their working relations are currently described as “professional and correct”.

Shelly Yechimovich and Cheli from Wonderful CountryNow, Peretz and Labour. Well, a big boost yesterday when one of Israel’s hardest hitting journalists announced she was leaving Channel 2 and joining the Labour party (sort of like Larry King joining the Democratic Party). Shelly Yachimovich, a news personality for a long time and is known for being a little aggressive sometimes in her interviews. She is smart, very opinionated and generally well respected. Definitely going to make things interesting. Shelly is an active character portrayed by Chelli in the Comedy show Wonderful Country, the writers of the show were happy to hear the news, saying they felt the character was getting a little tired.

Another interesting addition to the new Labour party is Avi Shaked. One of Israel’s richest people and a behind the scenes man for several political initiatives has announced his candidacy to the party. Describing himself as a “socialist first and millionaire later” he managed to stay out of the limelight.
He made his fortune online with a network of online gaming operations and a software company, Random Logic, that operates the online casino 888 and the poker site, Pacific Poker. The company went public in September in the UK with an IPO worth $1.04 Billion. A multi million dollar socialist !

As always, stay tuned…

Amir Peretz – Speechless

This is a little concerning. The new leader of the Labour Party, Amir Peretz giving a speech at the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies. Continue reading

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin MemorialThe last few days were dedicated to Yitzhak Rabin and his assassination on November 4th, 1995. Ten years after the murder the country paused to remember the event and the fallen leader. All week television broadcast various documentaries and articles about the man, the final days and the Israel he left behind. Rabin’s death symbolized the end of a particular brand of Israelis for many people, the loss of innocence in a way and a departure from the “brutal honesty” that was so much a part of Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy.

The memorial in Tel Aviv Sunday, the official remembrance ceremony at the gravesite in Mount Herzel in Jerusalem and finally the official launch of the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies last night were just some of the main events held.

Notable speeches where given by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who recalled the friendship and personal history they shared. He remembered their differences and the respect he always felt for the man. In September and October 1995, Sharon was one of several political leaders that preached against Rabin’s way and wasn’t addressing any of the hateful posters in the crowed showing Rabin in an SS uniform or wearing the Palestinian headdress. Moral responsibility is not big for today’s political leaders in Israel.

The Clintons were very much an important part of these events and in particular Bill Clinton was notable. The man loved Rabin and his words touched people. It seems like his appearance as an independent non political figure allowed him to speak from the heart and in people responded. He spoke of Rabin’s legacy, the dream of peace they both shared and his personal memories in warm, personal tones. In his speech Clinton spoke to Israeli politics in general as well, he spoke of our ability to accept the possibility that we may be wrong, as a crucial step in holding any meaningful debate. True to so many of the political life in Israel and the Middle East, the conviction and belief in a cause does not cancel out the validity of opposing points of view.

Hillary Clinton speaking at the dinner right after her husband was also remembering the times with Rabin and especially her experiences with Lea. She commended Lea as a wife of a military leader, statesman and politician, acknowledging with a nudge to Bill that it was very hard work. The crowed laughed. At that moment one could understand what made the Clintons so likeable in Israel. The awareness that they were as human as anyone else and that despite their personal issues they continued together has made them a very strong couple and one that can withstand future political challenges.

After Ariel Sharon made his speech he was rushed off by security. Broadcasts were paused to allow him the time to leave and it made me realize what a profound effect Rabin’s murder had. This event, the most heavily secured in the country’s history, was still not safe enough for the Prime Minister.

In a time where corruption lies and deception are rampant in Israeli politics, people like Yitzhak Rabin would have no room. In his final days Rabin was physically attacked and warnings by the security services were shrugged by him regularly. He refused to use the bullet proof Cadillac because he hated the symbol on the hood. He turned red in anger at protestors and yelled back at the crowds when he was hackled in speaking engagements. Never hiding behind heavy security and never shying away from an opportunity to speak to his people. The nation of Israel was his to argue with, fight for and lead and he did it in the most personal way he could, with as little barriers as possible. That was his way, for better or worse.

On the way to the Peace Rally in Tel Aviv on that fateful night security services warned of a definite threat on his life. He leaned over to Lea and asked her if she was afraid. She was but true to her Israeli nature answered no. He smiled and said well I guess we’re going then. He wouldn’t have it any other way and anyone who knew anything about the man would know that.

Yitzhak Rabin – A Biography

Yitzhak Rabin (Pronounced: Rabeen) was born in Jerusalem on March 1st 1922 to Nehemia and Rosa Cohen. His parents were active members of Achdut Haavoda, a Labour movement, his father an employee of the Israel Electric Company and his mother a member of the Hagana Organization and a City Council Member in Tel-Aviv.

Most of Yitzhak Rabin’s childhood years were spent in Tel-Aviv, first in a southern part of town bordering Jaffa and later in the town center. His primary school years were spent together with the children of the Labour party activists, he later enrolled at Givat Hashlosha High School when a short time later his mother became very ill, and the young student was transferred to Kaduri boarding school in northern Israel.

Yitzhak Rabin 1937
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