The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

Itzak RabinOn November 4, 1995, Israel joined the list. Not the list of Nobel prizes, agricultural inventions, or high-tech achievements. Unfortunately, like so many other nations in the history of the world, Israel joined the list of assassinated presidents.

I was 6 years old, and I remember coming down the stairs and seeing my entire family staring at the television screen, not saying a word, completely silent. Days after, the newspapers were still showing pictures of people of all ages, crying and lighting candles in the town square where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot, which would be named Rabin Square in commemoration until this day. 

Israel, a country with a variety of opinions, ideals, and adversity, was in shock. No matter what your political point of view or your thoughts of Rabin, the entire country was united, united in grief. Maybe it is because we are such a small country that in times of crisis we become one big family. However, this time it wasn’t a war or an external conflict, it was the murder of a man the led us all, our Prime Minister.

It was as if the entire nation was on mute. People walked in the street with their head tilted down and their eyes staring at the floor, the noisy Israeli roads famous for their racket became silent, no one blew their horns, no one spoke lewdly in public. We were a country in deep sorrow.

It was not only the assassination of a prime minister; it was more than that. It was an assassination of the democracy in Israel. It was a bullet to kill not only a person, but an idea.

That day a mass rally which was held under the slogan "Yes to Peace, No to Violence" ended in the most violent of acts, murder. Rabin, who spoke in the town square that night, refused to wear any protection gear because he believed in his people; he believed in democracy. He couldn’t imagine that a few minutes after talking about peace, tolerance, acceptance and refraining from violence, a young law student would shoot him - this act emphasizing all he said before:

“Violence erodes the basis of Israeli democracy. It must be condemned and isolated. This is not the way of  the State of Israel. In a democracy there can be differences, but the final decision will be taken in democratic elections.”

It took years for the wound to stop bleeding, yet it has never fully healed, The scar is embedded in the heart of the nation forever as we commemorate 17 years after that terrible night that changed the nation when one brother killed another only for his ideas.

May it never ever occur again either in Israel or in any other democracy in our world.