Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Yitzhak Rabin - Z"L

As darkness fell last night, the Hebrew anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin began. As we drove up towards Rabin Square we saw many young Israelis from the scouting movement at a ceremony. Today's Yediot Aharonot newspaper has a special supplement commemorating Rabin that I have begun to read (slowly - it is in Hebrew after all). One article interviews four young Israelis who were born on the day that Rabin was assassinated. It was interesting to get their persepctive on the man and his death.

How and for what do we remember Yitzhak Rabin?
Their comments ranged from "I am not especially sad on this day because despite everything, it's my birthday" (Avi Cohen, Tel Aviv)  to the perhaps more thoughtful "It's strange to me to look at photos and see how everyone was in shock and I had just come into the world on that day" (Danielle Levi, Kibbutz Geveram). One of the young interviewees is an Arab Israeli who lives in Haifa. His revelation was the most surprising. He noted that "At school we never speak about him [Rabin] and not on the anniversary of his death. I know, because it happened on the day I was born, but my friends don't know anything about this date."

This statement has made me sad for the peace that Rabin, despite his faults and the problems of the Oslo Accords, tried to bring to his country, to all Israelis not just the Jewish ones. I am convinced that it will be the people, not the politicians, who will build the lasting peace, whenever that may be. And I also believe that it will have to start in the schools, so that the younger generations will know each other and begin to recognise each other more through being educated together.

There are a few projects (Neve Shalom, Givat Haviva for example) that have begun to educate young Jewish and Arab Israelis together, so it is possible. And admirable. And necessary.

Yitzhak Rabin Z"L - rest in peace, and may there be peace


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