A candle for Yitzhak

October 22, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israeli’s President Reuven Rivlin has lit the “Ner Yitzhak” at the official ceremony opening the events marking the 23rd anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin ז”ל

President Rivlin joins Yuvakland Dalia Rabin in lighting candles

The event was held at the President’s Residence and was attended by members of the Rabin family, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Revital Sweid MK, Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel and students from the Bilingual School, Beer Sheva.

President Rivlin said: “In the 23 years that have passed since the murder, we have been through difficult times. Wars and contentious political initiatives,” said the president. “Each time, and despite the polarization of views, we have avoided terrible moments like this. Have we healed? I am not sure. I do not know. It is possible that our generation – the generation that knew Yitzhak, the generation that followed him into battle as a commander of the Palmach, as commander of the Jerusalem sector and the Harel brigade in the War of Independence, the generation that knew him as commander of the IDF in the Six Day War and heard his speech from atop Har Hatzofim in Jerusalem, the generation that saw the first sabra as prime minister in his first premiership, the generation that saw the ‘turnover’ of his second administration – that our generation, that saw how a base murderer, coward and criminal, who shot him in the back, will never heal. That generation will never forget and never forgive. Will surely not forgive itself. And we, we are that generation. The generation on whose watch the murder happened. The generation that saw the sights, the generation that heard the voices, the generation that did not read the writing on the wall. But, the truth is that the challenge is not our generation, but those that come after us,” he added.

“Day by day, the generation that did not know Yitzhak grows. The generation that did not itself see the dark slippery slope from incitement and hatred to bloodshed. Children and young people who have grown up and were born and immigrated over the last twenty or thirty years, the leaders of our tomorrow, did not know Yitzhak. And did not know the murder. And the truth is that something is not working. Because each year we make speeches and hold ceremonies and yet we see the erosion of the centrality of the murder and what it means in Israeli public discourse. We are still struggling to pass on “Ner Yitzhak” (“the light of Yitzhak”), the torch of memory from that terrible night. I fear that ceremonies and speeches will not help so long as we cannot agree on what it is that we want to remember.”

President Reuven continued, “The murder of Rabin divides us into tribes and camps. 23 years after the murder, it seems to me that there is no alternative but to say: every one of us can remember Yitzhak Rabin the man and the leader in his own way, but we must agree that we want to remember the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin together. And that agreement must be expressed in real actions in schools in all four streams of education, in the various youth movements, in national institutions and ceremonies. The memorial day for the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin could be the only day in the Israeli calendar that is shared by all the tribes of Israel. We have an opportunity and a duty to light “Ner Yitzhak” on this day, the memorial light of a prime minister who was murdered, in every house in Israel.”

“Distinguished guests, the Jewish people has experience in preserving and renewing memory. We remember the exodus from Egypt, the destruction of the Temple and the murder of Gedalia ben Achikam every year. We must learn from Jewish history how to carry on remembering. How to bear the burden of memory, how to pass on the light, the torch, from generation to generation. We, who failed to prevent the murder, are responsible for bearing that duty, our duty, for future generations,” he said.


One Response to “A candle for Yitzhak”
  1. david singer says:

    President Rivlin is right to say that “we must agree that we want to remember the murder of Yitzchak Rabin together”.

    But there is more that we should all remember together – the speech that Yitzchak Rabin delivered to the Knesset on October 5, 1995 – just days before his assassination – when presenting the 300 page “Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”.

    That speech identified the following signposts that Mr Rabin’s historic path and vision sought to take:

    1. First and foremost, the State of Israel would be a Jewish State, at least 80% of whose citizens would be Jews.

    2. The State of Israel would include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate; and alongside it a Palestinian entity which would be home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

    3. The Palestinian entity would be less than a state and would independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.

    4. The borders of the State of Israel would be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. Israel would not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

    The main changes Mr Rabin envisaged as a result were:

    a) Jerusalem would be united and would include both Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev as the capital of Israel under Israeli sovereignty;

    b) The security border of Israel would be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term;

    c) Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities in the area east of what was the “Green Line” prior to the Six Day War would be included in the State of Israel;

    d) Blocs of settlements would be established in Judea and Samaria like the one in Gush Katif;

    e) No single settlement would be uprooted in the framework of the Interim Agreement, nor building hindered for natural growth;

    f) The responsibility for the external security along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, as well as control over the airspace above all of the territories and the Gaza Strip maritime zone, would remain in Israeli hands; and

    g) Murderers of Jews, or those who had wounded others seriously, would not be released

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