Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

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Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
RabinSquare.jpg
Site of the rally before the assassination: Kings of Israel Square (since renamed Rabin Square) with Tel Aviv's City Hall in the background during the day.
Location Tel Aviv
Coordinates 32°04′54.8″N 34°46′51.4″E / 32.081889°N 34.780944°E / 32.081889; 34.780944Coordinates: 32°04′54.8″N 34°46′51.4″E / 32.081889°N 34.780944°E / 32.081889; 34.780944
Date November 4, 1995
Target Yitzhak Rabin
Attack type
Shooting
Weapons Beretta 84F semi-automatic pistol
Deaths 1 (Rabin)
Non-fatal injuries
1 (his body guard)
Perpetrator Yigal Amir

The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin took place on November 4, 1995 (12th of Marcheshvan, 5756 on the Hebrew calendar) at 21:30, at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv. The assassin, an Israeli ultranationalist terrorist named Yigal Amir, strenuously opposed Rabin's peace initiative and particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Prelude[edit]

Yitzhak Rabin's Family mourn at his funeral

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin was the culmination of Israeli right-wing dissent over the Oslo peace process. Rabin, despite his extensive service in the Israeli military, was disparaged personally by right-wing conservatives and Likud leaders who perceived the Oslo peace process as an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories.

Haredi conservatives and Likud party leaders believed that withdrawing from any "Jewish" land was heresy. Rallies, organized partially by Likud, became increasingly extreme in tone. Likud leader (and future Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu accused Rabin's government of being “removed from Jewish tradition ... and Jewish values.” Netanyahu addressed protesters of the Oslo movement at rallies where posters portrayed Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform or being the target in the cross-hairs of a sniper.[1] Rabin accused Netanyahu of provoking violence, a charge which Netanyahu strenuously denied.[2]

Yigal Amir[edit]

Yitzhak Rabin grave, December 1995

The assassin was Yigal Amir, a former Hesder student and far-right law student at Bar-Ilan University. Amir had strenuously opposed Rabin's peace initiative, particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords, because he felt that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would deny Jews their “biblical heritage which they had reclaimed by establishing settlements.” Amir had come to believe that Rabin was a rodef, meaning a "pursuer" who endangered Jewish lives. The concept of din rodef ("law of the pursuer") is a part of traditional Jewish law. Amir believed he would be justified under din rodef in removing Rabin as a threat to Jews in the territories.[3]

According to Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Amir’s interpretation of din rodef is a gross distortion of Jewish law and tradition:

First of all, the law of the pursuer only applies to a spontaneous act, whereas Yigal Amir planned this assassination for two years. Secondly, the law of the pursuer is only intended to save a potential victim from imminent death. There is absolutely no proof that withdrawing from certain territories will directly lead to the death of any Jews. On the contrary, Prime Minister Rabin, over half the members of the Knesset, and over half the population of Israel believe exactly the opposite — that it will save Jewish lives. Lastly, this law does not refer to elected representatives, for if Yitzhak Rabin was really a pursuer, then so are all his followers and that would mean that Amir should have killed over half the population of Israel! In other words, even according to the law of the pursuer, this act was totally futile and senseless since the peace process will continue.[4]

Yigal Amir had been under surveillance by the Israeli internal security service (Shin Bet), but the agent monitoring him had concluded that Amir posed no threat to the Prime Minister's life.

The assassination[edit]

The monument at the site of the assassination: Solomon ibn Gabirol Street between the Tel Aviv City Hall and Gan Ha'ir (in the back). The monument is composed of broken rocks, which represent the political earthquake that the assassination represents.

After the rally, Rabin walked down the city hall steps towards the open door of his car, at which time Amir fired three shots at Rabin with a Beretta 84F .380 ACP caliber semi-automatic pistol. He was immediately subdued by Rabin's bodyguards and arrested with the murder weapon. The third shot missed Rabin and slightly wounded security guard Yoram Rubin.[5][6]

Rabin was rushed to nearby Ichilov Hospital at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, where he died on the operating table from blood loss and a punctured lung within 40 minutes. Rabin's bureau chief, Eitan Haber, announced outside the gates of the hospital:

"The government of Israel announces in consternation, in great sadness, and in deep sorrow, the death of prime minister and minister of defense Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered by an assassin, tonight in Tel Aviv. Honorifics for the dead in Judaism."[this quote needs a citation]

In Rabin's pocket was a blood-stained sheet of paper with the lyrics to the well-known Israeli song Shir LaShalom ("Song for Peace"), which was sung at the rally and dwells on the impossibility of bringing a dead person back to life and, therefore, the need for peace.[citation needed]

Reactions and funeral[edit]

The assassination of Rabin was a shock to the Israeli public. Rallies and memorials took place near Kings of Israel Square—later renamed Rabin Square in his honor—as well as near Rabin's home, the Knesset building, and the home of the assassin. Many other streets and public buildings around the country were named for Rabin as well.

The funeral of Rabin took place on November 6, the day after the assassination, at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem, where Rabin was buried. Hundreds of world leaders, including about 80 heads of state, attended the funeral.[7] Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin,[8] Spanish Prime Minister and European Council President-in-Office Felipe González[9] Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien, acting Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres,[10] United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali,[11] President of the United States Bill Clinton,[12] King Hussein of Jordan,[13] Rabin's granddaughter Noa Ben-Artzi Filosof,[14] former director-general of the prime minister's office Shimon Sheves,[15] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,[16] President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso director of the Prime Minister's Bureau Eitan Haber,[17] and President of Israel Ezer Weizman[18] were among those present.

Yigal Amir's act was and, to some extent, still is a great source of embarrassment to the religious Jewish community, initially leading to a wave of soul-searching[19] and denial (such as through the Yitzhak Rabin assassination conspiracy theories).

Amir was sentenced to be in prison for the rest of his life.

A national memorial day for Rabin is set on the date of his death according to the Hebrew calendar.

On 28 March 1996, the Shamgar Commission issued its final report into the assassination. It was critical of Shin Bet for putting the Prime Minister at risk and ignoring threats to his life from Jewish extremists.[20]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Karpin, Michael and Friedman, Ina, Murder in the Name of God — The Plot to Kill Yitzhak Rabin, ISBN 0-8050-5749-8.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Demonstration with Netanyahu on YouTube
  2. ^ Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict A History with Documents, ISBN 0-312-43736-6, pages 464,466.
  3. ^ Smith, pages 458, 468.
  4. ^ Rabbinic response: Jewish Law on the Killing of Yitzhak Rabin, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, 14 November 2005
  5. ^ Barak T: Ten years have passed, friend. Tel Aviv Newspaper (Hebrew)
  6. ^ Perry D: Israel and the Quest for Permanence, page 216.
  7. ^ ""World Leaders in Attendance at the Funeral of the Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  8. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  9. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Felipe Gonzalez, Prime Minister of Spain and Current EU President." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  10. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  11. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  12. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin by U.S. President Bill Clinton." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  13. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin by His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  14. ^ "Eulogy by Noa Ben-Artzi Filosof for Her Grandfather, the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  15. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin by Former Dir-Gen PM's Office Shimon Sheves." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  16. ^ "Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  17. ^ Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Director of PM's Bureau Eitan Haber." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  18. ^ Eulogy for the Late Prime Minister and Defense Yitzhak Rabin by President Ezer Weizman." 6 November 1995. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  19. ^ "13 Years After the Assassination, Wounds Still Fester." Jexpo 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  20. ^ New York Times, Washington Post 29 March 1996.

External links[edit]