1 The righteous man perishes, And no one considers; Pious men are taken away, And no one gives thought That because of evil The righteous was taken away.” Isaiah 57:1 (The Israel Bible™)
An estimated 85,000 people gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to commemorate the passing of Yitzchak Rabin who was assassinated in 1995 during his second term as the prime minister of Israel. The rally, held under the title “We Are One People”, was less focused on left-wing politics than previous gatherings in memory of Rabin, and several right-wing speakers were invited to speak.
This year’s rally was organized by the Darkenu movement and Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS). Darkenu describes itself as “the moderate majority” while CIS is an Israeli movement of ex-senior security officials. They are both centrist advocacy groups that support “separation” from the Palestinians as part of a two-state solution.
Despite the efforts of the organizers to maintain a neutral atmosphere, the rally retained its left-wing character. When Oded Revivi, the Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA (Yehuda and Samaria) Council, took the podium, he was greeted by loud boos.
“Despite the protesting voices in Tel Aviv, and I know there were some, the organizers of the rally extended their hand and invited me to speak on this platform,” Revivi said to the crowd. “And despite the protesting voices on the mountain, and you know there were some, I came down to the square.”
“In Judea and Samaria there live today half a million Israeli citizens. Half a million citizens, a wind turbine that produce a lot of energy, that are connected to the history of the Jewish people. That have deep roots in our soil.”
Shelly Yachimovich, a Member of Knesset for the left-wing Zionist Union party, was angered by the neutral approach.
“A stranger reading this strange and beguiling announcement for the rally might think that Rabin died peacefully in his bed after he retired and now the gang is getting together to have a little sing-along and share fond, amusing memories,” Yachimovich wrote on her Facebook page. “Well, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered. M-u-r-d-e-r-e-d. It was a political assassination designed to eliminate an elected political leader and to change the path of the nation by that murder.”
Esther Brot, a resident of Ofra whose house was destroyed after a High Court ruling that it was built on Palestinian land, was scheduled to speak but pulled out of the event.
“At the moment, it seems that the (Rabin) square is not ripe for my appearance. In recent days, extreme leftists have come out against me with a campaign of slander and incitement,” she wrote on Facebook on Friday. “They have turned me into a lawbreaker who harms democracy. All I planned to talk about was the importance of unity for democracy. They miss the fact that pluralism is not just meant to be toward the LGBT community… They are not able to reach out for unity if it is not uniform.”
Yitzchak Rabin served in the IDF since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, serving as chief of staff during the 1967 Six-Day War. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in signing the Oslo Accords with Yaaser Arafat. Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, by Yigal Amir.