I can remember that day quite clearly. It was basically a normal weekend except for an event that transpired thousands of kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean. At around 2 o'clock, my mother answered the phone and after putting it down, announced, 'Yitzchak Rabin has been assassinated'. Needless to say, we were all in shock. I couldn't believe it. Turning on the TV that night shocked us even further - the man who 'pulled the trigger' was Yigal Amir, a 26 year old law student from Bar Ilan (After reading a few books, watching the 'Kempler' footage and observing the obvious contradictions in this case, I am rather convinced that Yigal Amir was not the only man involved in this - and is most likely not the man who fired the shots that actually killed Rabin.). I cannot really remember my feelings or thoughts during that day besides the shock - Although I didn't really know anything about the man and his role in the country's past, I think I felt a deep loss, a loss of a man who was important to me.
Those feelings of loss & pain haven't changed, but I never thought that my feelings towards his 'memorial day' within Israel would change so drastically. I actually cannot stand the day anymore. This should be a day where we can remember a man who defended this country for decades and strove to lead it to peace. He was a leading figure in the Palmach & the IDF and his decisions as the Chief of Staff (during the 6 Day War) and the Prime Minister (presided over the Entebbe Decision) were critical to our country's safety and standing in the region. Despite the long list of military successes, Rabin also strove for peace as he pushed for dialogue with the Palestinians as early as the mid 1970s and then pushed (or was pushed by George Bush as he told ABC News & William Safire) the Oslo peace process and a peace deal with Jordan. However, despite the fact we should all be united in remembering a towering figure in our short history (one only surpassed by David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin), the day has been completely hijacked for selfish, political & personal gains by the Israeli left. Finally, the left has a day where it's 'ok' to bash the Right and blame them for Rabin's death and a day where it's 'ok' to bash religious Jews as if we were all to blame. Sadly, this day has veered off the path and lost its supposed meaning. Instead of uniting us in mourning for a man who tried to do what he saw as best for his country, it further widens the obvious cracks between us. While I can never forgive Rabin for his statements regarding the suicide bombings of 1995 ('the price of peace'), I feel he wanted what was best for Israel. So, despite the day's often hateful and cruel rhetoric, I still take the time to pay my respects to a man who did so much for this country.
Below is a nice clip with pictures of Rabin's life, with the song Ha'Reut in the background:
The rather famous eyewitness report - "Rabin put his right leg in the car, and suddenly there were shots", "Rabin was not hit":