Will Obama speak at Rabin Square?

Mr. President, the most symbolic pro-peace gesture you could make is to show up at Rabin Square, where peace leader Yitzhak Rabin was murdered.

February 27, 2013 21:53
2 minute read.
Netanyahu and Obama shake hands

Netanyahu and Obama shake hands 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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There are so many reasons people would want to watch President Barack Obama’s speech at Rabin Square it is difficult to choose the best one.

First of all, it will be a huge affair. The most powerful person in the world will be speaking at the spot we most associate with our great leaders.

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Moreover, it will more like a concert than a speech. Obama, like Kennedy and Clinton, has a star-like personality, as opposed to Carter and Nixon who were grim-faced and boring. Unfortunately, all of our leaders – even the great ones – have been more like Nixon and Carter. (Maybe Yair Lapid, the Knesset’s new superstar, will actually be something close to a real star.) As for the more serious arguments, a large percentage of Israelis no longer believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. We all still remember the “Bar-Ilan speech,” during which Netanyahu declared his support for “two states for two peoples.”

And since then, he and his buddies have been walking all over us. And for that reason, we will be so excited to see with our own eyes as Obama stands in Rabin Square – the very place our great leaders have all stood – and explains to us what will happen if the status quo continues, and we fail to understand the disaster that is awaiting us.

The fate of the country will be shrouded in fog.

And this time it is serious, not like when our leaders recently scared us with fictional stories about Iranian nuclear bombs that would blow us up any day.

We also have a friendly word of advice for Obama: a new generation of leaders has been chosen to serve in the Knesset, one that is younger and more open-minded. Try to connect with them directly. As your opening gesture, invite them to stand with you at Rabin square.

These young people are not opposed to peace, and therefore it is worthwhile to make an effort to reach out to them, even if it means inviting them to the penthouse suite at the King David Hotel.

We know that you are human like we are, and that you will not be able to forget how our prime minister mistreated you before the recent US election, namely with his public support of your rival, Mitt Romney. You are known for being politically correct, but this time you’ll need to take off your jacket and raise your voice.

In short, if you speak at Rabin Square, our gain will be two-fold. Firstly, it will be a fascinating performance. And secondly, we will be able to hear from you firsthand what goes on in the world of leaders, and if we have a chance to make a change that would move our country forward.

The most symbolic pro-peace gesture that you could make now is showing up at Rabin Square, where peace leader Yitzhak Rabin was murdered. And since that fateful day, the entire world has been waiting for someone to pick up the ball where it was dropped, and continue to run. And maybe you, Mr. Obama, will be the one who will do it.

The author is a journalist and one of Israel’s leading television producers and directors. Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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