Remembering Rabin is Our Collective Duty
A man lights a candle beside a portrait of slain Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin outside his Tel Aviv residence early in the morning following his November 4, 1995, assassination. (Courtesy)

Remembering Rabin is Our Collective Duty

Maariv, Israel, October 29

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the assassination of a warrior, a commander, a defense minister, and a prime minister: Yitzhak Rabin. As in years past, this year we will also solemnly commemorate the day, despite the limitations imposed upon us by the coronavirus. We insist on marking this important day because observing this day of remembrance each and every year is what binds us to our people, to ourselves, to our history, and to our roots. This is a landmark around which we gather, year after year, hurting, talking, reflecting. Unfortunately, many times we hear voices speaking up against this day of remembrance. They may deny it. They may claim that they have nothing to do with the man we’re remembering. They may brush away the duty of remembering. But today more than ever before it is important that we commemorate this day and remember the dark abyss that our country can fall to if we let the mindset of “we” and “they” dominate our society. As a Jerusalemite, I admired the Harel Brigade and its commander, Yitzhak Rabin, for rescuing us from the siege. During the Six-Day War, I was a reserve officer in the army whose chief was Rabin. Even though we did not hold the same positions, even though there were serious disagreements between us, we knew we were playing on the same team. This idea – the notion that we all must stick out for each other – is one I reflect back on frequently. It is a reminder that we don’t have the privilege of turning our backs to our brothers and sisters, even when they stand across the aisle – be it the political aisle, the religious aisle, or the ethnic aisle. Our shared destiny means that we must all learn to navigate this ship together. Together, we must celebrate its achievements and hurt through its failures. We can disagree and argue; that’s the only way for genuine partnership to form. But we can never turn against each other. The insistence on commemorating Rabin’s murder stems from the understanding that Rabin belongs to all of us. His memory, as well as the memory of his treacherous assassination, is applicable to each and every Israeli, regardless of political belief. Rabin was a brave soldier, a warrior, a commander, a minister, and a prime minister. May his memory be a blessing to all of us and be carried from one generation to the next, enshrined in our collective history for eternity. – Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin, president of the State of Israel (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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