On the 21st anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, family members warned that incitement against political adversaries continues in Israel’s political debates.
Family members and friends gathered at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery on Friday to commemorate the 1995 killing of Rabin by a Jewish extremist opposed to the Oslo peace talks with the Palestinians.
Speaking at the event, Rabin’s daughter Dalia warned that the schisms that divided Israel at the time and led to her father’s killing are still in evidence in Israel’s public discourse.
“This murder was terrible. It is an open wound for us in the family, but it is also an open wound for our nation,” she said at the ceremony.
“The incitement from before has not ended. Parts of the nation are still in denial and find ways to argue that maybe it was good to murder him,” she said.
Rabin was shot dead by the far-right activist Yigal Amir at the end of a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995.
Other speakers at Friday’s commemoration, held before Rabin’s black marble tomb stone, praised Rabin’s long history of service to Israel.
“I knew that no matter what, for good or for bad, you would back me,” said former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit, who served under Rabin.
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 for his part in the Oslo peace efforts, along with then-foreign minister Shimon Peres, who died in September, and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.
The Friday ceremony was limited to family and close friends. A public commemoration will be held Saturday night at the Tel Aviv plaza, now called Rabin Square, where the former PM was slain.
The gathering is being organized by the Labor Party, which Rabin once led, after private organizers announced last week they would have to cancel the gathering due to lack of funds. Labor’s chairman, Zionist Union MK Isaac Herzog, promised the event would go ahead with funding from his party.