Scouts at Kikar Rabin.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Several thousand youngsters gathered at Tel Aviv’s Kikar Rabin Tuesday night to take part in a memorial ceremony organized by the Israel Scouts to mark the 15th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
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Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog told the crowd how he spoke to Rabin only moments before the murder and advised the youngsters to ignore those people in Israel “who are trying to warp and diminish this tragedy.”
Herzog added that Israel must remember “what led to this serious blow to democracy and freedom of speech.”
Chairman of the scouts Eli Ben-Yosef said that “Recently we hear a lot of voices saying that Israeli youngsters today don’t remember or understand the murder of Rabin. We’re here tonight to remember and remind Israelis that the youth of this country will continue to carry the torch of memory.”
At the memorial, scouts spokesman Udi Lahav said that “I can see the differences between the kids of today and those kids back then,” adding that he was one of the “candle youth” who lit memorial candles outside the spot where three bullets from Yigal Amir’s pistol ended the life of the Israeli statesman on November 4, 1995.
Lahav added that even though the murder was less familiar to this generation’s youngsters, “with the right teaching they learn the message of tolerance and that there are people with different ideas than you and that violence is not the answer.”
Lahav’s words were echoed by 16-year-old Dana Ginsburg of Rosh Ha’ayin,
who said she understood the message of the commemoration to be that “it
doesn’t matter what the issue is, you can’t just kill someone because
they don’t agree with you.”
Ginsburg, who said she hoped to someday go into politics, added that
“the younger kids need to be taught about Rabin and about what happened,
otherwise they’ll forget.”
Fellow Rosh Ha’ayin teen Ron Rothstein agreed, saying that although “we
all know who he [Rabin] was, education is necessary. Kids these days
think mainly about their future, about dating, university, things like
that, they don’t really care about politics.”
Rothstein added that many of his fellow scouts “came here partly because
they wanted to see friends from around Israel – it’s a free trip to Tel
Aviv to hang out with friends. Still, we realize how important this is
and education plays a big part in making sure it stays important to