Benny Gantz at Rabin memorial rally: Israel will never surrender to hate

Speaking at the rally, Gantz said "Israel will never surrender to hatred. The children of Israel will not grow up in a state where some of its leaders sanctify hatred. I won't let hate win."

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaks at the Yitzhak Rabin memorial rally, Tel Aviv, November 2 2019 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaks at the Yitzhak Rabin memorial rally, Tel Aviv, November 2 2019
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Thousands of Israelis packed Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to mark 24 years since the murder of former Prime Minsiter Yitzhak Rabin, with Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz vowing that “Israel will defeat the hate.”
"Israel will never surrender to hatred. The children of Israel will not grow up in a state where some of its leaders sanctify hatred. I won't let hate win,” Gantz said to the crowd.
Rabin Square was named in honor of the prime minister who was gunned down by Yigal Amir, a religious extremist, on November 4, 1995, after addressing a rally in support of peace efforts with the Palestinians.
In addition to Gantz, another speaker who addressed the crowd was Yaron Zilberman, the director of the recently released film “Incitement” which starred Yehuda Nahari who played the role of Amir and told The Jerusalem Post that he was “overwhelmed with emotion” to attend the rally.
The rally on Saturday evening was held under the same slogan as the one where Rabin was assassinated in 1995, “Yes to peace, no to violence.”
Crowd at Rabin Square, November 2 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)Crowd at Rabin Square, November 2 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)
"Twenty-four years ago, at the height of a limitless campaign of extremism, heinous killer Yigal Amir shot the prime minister three times in the back with the aim of murdering him," Gantz continued. "Rabin was murdered because of divisions, incitement and hate. Twenty-four years later, hatred has become a dangerous weapon again by boundless politicians."
Calling for unity, Gantz vowed that as prime minister he would stand “with the head of the opposition, together, even if we deeply disagree on many things, to give a joint message of Israeli unity and hope.”
“Ten days ago, I received the mandate to form a government. A government that represents all segments of this nation, those who voted for me and those who did not. A government of unity and of reconciliation,” he said. “A liberal unity government that accepts each and every person both as individuals and as part of a group. I am determined to form a government of internal acceptance among the factions. I am making every effort to reach out to all party leaders with one clear message: Israel is bigger and more important than any one leader.”
But after two elections in a single year filled with political messaging one cannot blame Israelis for feeling a certain amount of fatigue even surrounding this anniversary. While the square was full, it was not packed by any means, there was plenty of room to move about and breathe and text messages were sent with ease.
Revital Gantz at the rally for Yitzhak Rabin, November 2 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)Revital Gantz at the rally for Yitzhak Rabin, November 2 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)
Looking out at the crowd one thing was obvious, the lack of diversity. It was a sea of left-of-center Ashkenazim. It was evident not just in their faces, but in their signs that read “We demand peace from the government now!”
Many families came to the event with their children, including Geva and Yaakobi from Ein Shemen and Kfar Saba, who were there with three generations of their family: their parents, themselves and their children.
“We are here because we have to remember Rabin, even after 24 years,” Geva said, adding that “we have to come, especially with the kids. To pass on the message against hate and what happened here, and that we have hope for peace. We still hope to follow Rabin’s peace.”
Yaakobi said it was a family tradition to come to the rally.
“We are here every year – the same towel and cookies and coffee,” Yaakobi said. “It’s a tradition; we always come.”
But even though they hope to follow in Rabin’s footsteps toward peace, “right now it’s hard,” Yaakobi said. “I don’t think we don’t have anyone to make peace with. When we have peace, everyone knows how it will look, [but] today we have to make sure we act now by not putting up obstacles, so that one day we can have peace.”
Geva and Yaakobi with their family at the Yitzhak Rabin rally, November 2, 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)Geva and Yaakobi with their family at the Yitzhak Rabin rally, November 2, 2019 (Photo Credit: Anna Ahronheim/Rachel Wolf)