Youth groups plan alternative Rabin memorial
Ceremony "to save democracy" aims to be relevant to Israel's current social and political realities.
Tel Aviv memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in 2001 Photo: Havakuk Levison/Reuters
Youth movements and social NGOs plan to gather for an alternative ceremony to
honor the anniversary of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination
The memorial on October 27 in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where
the prime minister was assassinated in 1995, is meant to be relevant to current
social and political realities, explained Amihai Stinger, one of the ceremony’s
organizers and a leader of Dror Israel, a kibbutz- related movement.
Yitzhak Rabin Center is not organizing a ceremony at Rabin Square this year. As
such, Dror Israel and other youth movements will run the memorial.
assassination was a symbol, a sign warning us against becoming an
anti-democratic, violent, racist society made up of groups that were alienated
from each other, and such problems have only increased since then,” Stinger
The ceremony’s organizers call for those who identify with
democratic values to take part in the event, adding that it will deal with
complex, challenging topics beyond the assassination itself that will “touch raw
nerves in Israeli society.”
According to Stinger, “Since November 4,
1995, two scary things have happened: The memory and legacy of Rabin was almost
forgotten, especially by the younger generation, and democracy was harmed while
political violence increased.”
Prof. Yossi Yonah, of Ben-Gurion
University’s philosophy department, said no organization has a monopoly on the
memorial, and that he hopes that a wide spectrum of activists will participate
in order to defend democracy.
“In recent years, most of the public
discourse on this topic is to forget [the assassination], to discuss crazy
conspiracies and give public legitimacy to pardoning accomplices to the murder,”
Yonah said. “Any attempt to say something of value, something moral and
critical, was removed from the memorial ceremonies. That is why we decided to
Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin, who was charged with
sedition following his anti-Oslo Accord activism, also said the lesson of
Rabin’s assassination had to do with democracy, but in a different way than
Stinger and Yonah described it.
According to Feiglin, there is much to be
learned from the assassination, but youth groups are unlikely to highlight the
real messages by “putting nice liberal messages on a
“Oslo was born under a true dictatorship. We should learn
to listen to the minority. There was a tyranny of the majority [at the time],
even though they had no majority in support of Oslo. We can’t let that happen
again,” Feiglin stated.
“That is the real lesson, but no one will dare
teach it; the Oslo industry has too much money for real
Rabin was responsible for his own assassination, the
right-wing activist added, while his murderer, Yigal Amir, was a symptom rather
than a problem.
“Most assassins are crazy, but Yigal Amir is sane,”
Feiglin said. “We still don’t know who killed Rabin; no one has answered the
Feiglin concluded that Israel has no reason to be proud
of Rabin and has nothing to learn from the former prime minister.