Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday night for a memorial event marking the 18th anniversary — according to the Hebrew calendar – of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The ceremony, titled “Remembering the murder, fighting for democracy,” was held at Rabin Square, where Rabin was shot dead on November 4, 1995, by right-wing extremist Yigal Amir. The site, originally called Malchei Yisrael Square, was renamed Rabin Square following the assassination.
A number of main streets in Tel Aviv were closed to traffic. The streets included Ibn Gabirol, Frishman, King David, Gordon, Malchei Yisrael, Ben Gurion, Bloch and Arlozorov.
The event was organized by the Dror Israel youth group.
Politicians, public figures and religious leaders from across the political spectrum were attending the gathering, as well as numerous representatives from Israel’s youth groups.
Last year, an estimated 20,000 people participated in the main ceremony marking the assassination.
Among the speakers invited to take part in this year’s event were Rabin’s grandson, Yonatan Ben Artzi, and Hadassah Froman, the wife of the rabbi and peace activist Menachem Froman, who died in March.
Rabin served as Israel’s chief of staff during the Six Day War in 1967. He was later ambassador to the US, defense minister and twice prime minister.
In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with then-foreign minister Shimon Peres and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat for his part in signing the Oslo Peace accords a year earlier.
Asher Zeiger contributed to this report