Thousands rally in Tel Aviv to remember Yitzhak Rabin

Peres: "In this square they killed Yitzhak, they tried to kill peace... we're more determined than the enemies of peace and we'll be victorious."

Rabin 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Rabin 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tens of thousands gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday for a memorial ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The rally, held next to the spot where Yigal Amir shot Rabin dead with three bullets to the back on November 4, 1995, brought together Israelis from all walks of life, in particular from a wide range of leftwing activists representing political parties and activist groups like Breaking the Silence and the Geneva Initiative.
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A number of musical artists performed at the rally, including Harel Skaat, Aviv Geffen, Yehuda Poliker, and Mosh Ben-Ari.
President Shimon Peres gave the keynote address, telling the crowd that while “Yitzhak's life was cut short, his legacy lives on,” adding that those who support finding a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict “will win, because only peace can win.”
The president said Rabin’s assassination showed how disagreements in Israel must be settled peacefully.
“We have been through seven wars, and never did our hope or our democracy fail. In our democracy, we listen to words, not bullets.”
Peres also spoke of the importance of continuing to push for a two-state solution, adding that Israel cannot continue “to rule over the lives of another people.”
In regard to heightened calls for the state to release Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, Peres said: “Israeli leaders, from the Left to the Right, have declared that this wicked man who cut short Yitzhak’s life will never be pardoned.”
Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison also addressed the crowd, speaking of the continued importance of a two-state solution, as well as of the preservation of Israeli democracy and Israel as a Jewish state.
“It is completely obvious that Rabin didn’t believe that a Jewish state must require discrimination against the Arab minority; or for the state to be controlled by the religious.”
Gavison expressed her belief that the Rabin memorial day would be “the day when we express Israel’s desire to be the vision Rabin had for it – a state that scoffs at any sort of political violence, that pursues peace, respects diverse communities, realizes the dreams of generations of the Jewish people to have their own historical homeland, but also serves as a home to all of its citizens.”
Saturday’s rally took place against the backdrop of debate on whether or not the yearly rally should continue to be held.