14 years on: Israel remembers Rabin
Video Biography Excerpts:]
By J Post staff
and rebecca stoil.
As the Knesset met in a special Thursday session to remember the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the nation's political leadership searched for lessons learned in the ensuing 14 years regarding the nature of Israeli society, and expressed hope that those lessons could help Israel confront the challenges in its future.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin opened the session with compliment for his former political adversary, saying that those who knew Rabin personally missed his honesty and directness, and his emphasis on weighing each argument.
Rivlin said the impact of the killing had "finally trickled down through the deep channels of society and has finally influenced all of society's parts. Suddenly so many of us understand how deep a cleavage was left in each and every one of us by the murder."
Finally, he added, "even those who believed that Oslo was a tragedy" could allow themselves to mourn and be horrified by Rabin's murder.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, one of Rabin's chief adversaries during the Oslo process, said during his speech on Thursday, "In my eyes, the secret of his magic was that he was - above all - an Israeli patriot."
"Even in times of disagreement," continued the prime minister, "I acquired a deep respect for him. I knew that even when we did not see things eye-to-eye, his considerations and his decisions were according to a deep, internal examination of what he believed was good for the country."
Netanyahu, too, included a word of criticism and warning in his speech, toward "a few still among us who are not willing to accept democratic decisions and are not ready to accept the supremacy of the law."
He hinted at future concessions, saying that "we will act according to Rabin's guidelines: to do what is good for our people. And I carry in my heart a prayer that in the great choices that are before us, fateful decisions, were will always respect one another and also the country's laws."
Opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni echoed her rival's words when she said that "the clear moral, about which there is no argument, is that we can disagree with one another, but never can silence the other, certainly not eternally, with a pistol shot... We need to think today as well, what was and still is legitimate in an argument, and where does the slippery slope begin, so that we know where to stop."
Earlier in the day, the annual service commemorating Rabin's assassination was held on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, attended by President Shimon Peres, Netanyahu, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and other dignitaries, MKs and family members.
Opening the ceremony, Peres said that Rabin was "impressive both in uniting the country during times of war, and on the path of peace."
"In peace as in war, Yitzhak looked for truth, he didn't seek fake prestige. He didn't hide facts, he didn't lie, and he didn't give up. He knew that military victory is not the aim of war, but rather leverage to achieve real goals. He knew not to succumb to external pressure," the president went on. "Yitzhak knew that there are no wars without bloodshed."