Rabin’s murder ‘ripped the fabric of Israeli democracy,’ president says
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Rabin’s murder ‘ripped the fabric of Israeli democracy,’ president says

As state commemorations begin for anniversary of the 1995 assassination, Rivlin tells nation, 'We have been trying to heal the breach ever since'

President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a ceremony marking one year since the death of his predecessor Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 14, 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a ceremony marking one year since the death of his predecessor Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 14, 2017 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, was an “unforgivable” act that “didn’t just eat away at Israeli democracy, but ripped apart its very fabric,” President Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday at a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the murder.

Rivlin spoke at one of several official commemorations planned throughout the day, the anniversary of the murder according to the Jewish calendar.

Speaking at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, Rivlin told an audience that included members of the Rabin family that the former prime minister’s killer, Yigal Amir, “who murdered a prime minister and ripped apart Israel’s living tissue, can never be forgiven.”

“We have been trying to heal the breach ever since, and will continue to do so,” Rivlin said.

“The grief,” he declared, “is shared by us all.”

He went on: “A democratic society is like a broken vase. Free speech reveals the contradictions, clarifies positions, and tests the ties between the broken parts. We must not be naive, or believe that all will be well. Even if our institutions are in need of change and reform, we must not give up on them or allow them to be undermined.”

The official state commemoration for the slain prime minister is slated for 3 p.m. at the Mount Herzl cemetery where Rabin is buried, and will be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut.

The Knesset is set to hold its own commemoration of Rabin at 5 p.m. in the plenum, attended by Rivlin, Hayut, Netanyahu, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog, deputy Knesset speaker MK Hilik Bar and members of Rabin’s family. It will open with a moment of silence.

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