'Shalom, Chaver:' Israel marks 26 years since Rabin assassination

The official state ceremony commemorating former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin will be held today at Mount Herzl | Netanyahu announced he will not be attending.

PLO CHAIRMAN Yasser Arafat shake hands with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, as US president Bill Clinton stands between them, after the signing of the Israeli-PLO peace accord, at the White House, September 13, 1993. (photo credit: GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS)
PLO CHAIRMAN Yasser Arafat shake hands with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, as US president Bill Clinton stands between them, after the signing of the Israeli-PLO peace accord, at the White House, September 13, 1993.
(photo credit: GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS)

Israel will be marking 26 years since former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination by an extremist Jewish Israeli in a slew of events on Monday.

An annual ceremony named "Ner Yitzhak" (Yitzhak's candle) will be held in the afternoon at President Isaac Herzog's residence, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Supreme Court Judge Anat Baron, Vice Knesset Speaker Eitan Ginsburg and other dignitaries and family members.

The official state ceremony will be held at Mount Herzl at 15:00. President Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennet will speak, as will Dalia Rabin, the daughter of the former PM.

The Knesset will hold a special plenum session at 17:00. The session will be attended by Supreme Court Chief Esther Hayut and the Rabin family, and speakers will include Knesset speaker Mickey Levy, Gantz, Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

The memorial events were kicked off on Sunday with a ceremony produced by the Council of Zionist Israeli Pre-Army Preparation Programs.

 Discussion groups gather at Rabin Square on October 17, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Discussion groups gather at Rabin Square on October 17, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Some 1,000 youth from over 50 pre-military programs led a ceremony on Sunday morning for the second straight year under the title "Debate as Brothers." 

The ceremony dealt with the importance of national unity and respectful discourse. Participants included Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Dalia Rabin, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Professor Yuli Tamir, poet Eliaz Cohen, former MK Tehila Friedman and others. 

 The Tel-Aviv Yaffo municipality building remembering 26 years since the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. October 17, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI) The Tel-Aviv Yaffo municipality building remembering 26 years since the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. October 17, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

"The murder of Yitzhak Rabin was one of most formative and difficult events in our lives as a nation and a state," Bennett said at the ceremony.

"Rabin's murder taught us more than a little and changed us more than a little," he said. "As a society, we learned how dangerous incitement and hatred can be."

"But we also learned another lesson, [which is] the danger in slandering entire populaces, and how damaging stereotypes can be by pushing away the other," he said.

"The kippa came back onto my head after the murder," he confessed. "At the time I was a company commander in [special forces unit] Maglan and I remember the hardships aimed at the religious Zionist community. This is precisely why I returned the kippa to my head. It was my personal response, and it brought with it an important insight: To do everything in my power in order to bring people closer, remove barriers and encourage unity. We are one nation. These are not slogans, they are our prerogative," he concluded.

Following the ceremony, the youth made their way to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square and hosted group discussions.

Also on Sunday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) participated in the ceremony "Remember in Song" in Gan Shmuel.

"Rabin, who hailed from the defense establishment, saw as a national leader not only the security challenges but also the importance of reaching out a strong and confident hand to the country's Arab citizens," he said at the ceremony.

"This moral imperative is especially important today, when we see the disease of violence," he continued. "We have a mission to connect the Arab community, make it a part of us, and provide all its needs," he said. 

The official day of commemoration is Monday, and the state ceremony will be held at Mount Hertzl in Jerusalem. Opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would not be attending, even though previous heads of opposition traditionally participated in the ceremony.