- Category : Politics-Heads-of-state
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 1
Yitzhak Rabin (, born 1 March 1922, died 4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician and general.
He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel with two periods in office, from 1974 until 1977 and from 1992 until his assassination in 1995. In 1994 during his second term Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, for their efforts towards peace which culminated in the Oslo Accords. He was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Israeli radical who had strenuously opposed Rabin's signing of the Oslo Accords. He was the first native-born Prime Minister of Israel, the only Prime Minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol.
Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922 to Nehemiah and Rosa, two pioneers of the Third Aliyah. Nehemiah Rubitzov, born in a small Ukrainian town in 1886, lost his father when he was a child and helped to support his family from a young age. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the United States, where he joined the Poalei Zion (Workers of Zion) Party and changed his surname to Rabin. In 1917 he went to Palestine with Hagdud Ha’ivri (Jewish Legion) volunteers, determined to settle in Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). Yitzhak Rabin's mother, Rosa Cohen, was born in 1890 in Mohilev in Belarus. Her father, a rabbi, opposed the Zionist movement, but sent Rosa to a Christian high school for girls in Homel, enabling her to acquire a broad general education. From a young age, Rosa took an interest in political and social causes. In 1919, she sailed to Palestine on the S.S. Ruslan, the bellwether of the Third Aliyah. After working on a kibbutz on the shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), she moved to Jerusalem.
Rabin grew up in Tel Aviv, where the family relocated when he was one year old. In 1940, he graduated with distinction from the Kadoori Agricultural High School and hoped to be an irrigation engineer. However, apart from several courses in military strategy in the United Kingdom later on, he never pursued a degree.
Rabin married his wife Leah (nee Schlossberg) in 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence. Leah was working at the time as a reporter for a Palmach newspaper. They had two children, Dahlia and Yuval. After Rabin's assassination, Dahlia Rabin-Pelossof went into politics. In 2001, she was Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense.
In 1941, during his practical training at Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan, Rabin joined the Palmach section of the Haganah, and rose to the position of Chief Operations Officer in October 1947.
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Rabin directed Israeli operations in Jerusalem and fought the Egyptian army in the Negev. In 1949, he helped draft an armistice agreement with the Arab countries that was signed on the island of Rhodes. In 1964 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Under his command, the IDF achieved victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War in 1967. After the Old City of Jerusalem was captured by the IDF, Rabin was among the first to visit the Old City, and delivered a famous speech on Mount Scopus, at the Hebrew University. In the days leading up to the war, it is rumored that Rabin suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to function. After this short hiatus, he resumed full command over the IDF.
Ambassador and Minister of Labor
Following his retirement from the IDF, he became a diplomat, serving as ambassador to the United States beginning in 1968.
In 1973 , Yitzhak Rabin wrote to Vice President Gerald Ford: "The announcement that agreement has been obtained facilitating immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel is causing great joy to the people of Israel and to Jewish communities everywhere. This achievement in the field of human rights would not have been possible but for your personal sympathy for the cause involved, for your direct concern and deep interest."
In 1973, he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Alignment, and was appointed Minister of Labour.
First term as Prime Minister
On June 2, 1974, Rabin was elected Party leader and succeeded Golda Meir as Prime Minister of Israel.
Operation Entebbe was the most dramatic event during Rabin's first term of office. On Rabin's orders, the IDF rescued passengers of a plane that was hijacked by terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the German Red Army Faction.
Rabin resigned from office in the wake of two crises at the end of 1976: Four F-15 jets were delivered on the Sabbath, which led to the break up of his coalition; and it was discoverd that his wife, Leah, continued to hold a US dollar account from the days that Rabin was ambassador to the United States. According to Israeli currency regulations at the time, it was illegal for citizens to maintain foreign currency accounts. In the wake of this disclosure, Rabin handed in his resignation, an act that earned him praise as a responsible person and a man of integrity.
Opposition MK and Minister of Defense
Following his resignation, Likud's Menachem Begin was elected in 1977. Until 1984 Rabin was a member of Knesset and sat on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. From 1984 to 1990, he served as Minister of Defense in several unity governments led by prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres.
When Rabin came to office, Israeli troops were still deep in Lebanon. Rabin ordered their withdrawal to a "Security Zone" on the Lebanese side of the border. The South Lebanon Army was active in this zone, along with the Israeli forces.
When the first Intifada broke out, Rabin adopted harsh measures to stop the riots, even threatening to "break the bones" of the rioters. Later, Rabin's attitude softened and he became convinced that the only way to end the violence was though negotiation and dialogue.
In 1990 to 1992, Rabin again served as an MK and a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. This time, he used his days in the opposition to compete against Shimon Peres for the chairmanship of the Labor party, a position held by Peres since 1977.
Second term as Prime Minister
In 1992 Rabin was elected as chairman of the newly-formed Israeli Labor Party. In the elections that same year his party, strongly focusing on the popularity of its leader, managed to win a clear victory over the Likud of incumbent Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. However the Left bloc in the Knesset won an overall narrow majority, facilitated by the disqualification of small nationalist parties that did not manage to pass the electoral threshold. Rabin formed the first Labour led government in fifteen years, supported by a coalition of left wing parties and Shas, a Mizrahi orthodox religious party.
Rabin played a leading role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Prior to the signing of the accords, Rabin received a letter from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat renouncing violence and officially recognizing Israel, and on the same day, September 9, 1993, Rabin sent Arafat a letter officially recognizing the PLO on (See: Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition.) During this term of office, Rabin also oversaw the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994).
For his role in the creation of the Oslo Accords, Rabin was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. The Accords greatly polarized his image in Israeli society, some seeing him as a hero for advancing the cause of peace and some seeing him as a traitor for giving away land they saw as rightfully belonging to Israel. Some Israelis (especially supporters of the right wing) often blame him for Jewish deaths that they believe have resulted because of the Oslo accords. Also, Rabin's government was kept in office with the tacit support of Arab-Israeli parties in the Knesset.
Rabin was also awarded the 1994 Ronald Reagan Freedom Award by the late President's wife, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The award is only given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide," and who "embody President Reagan's lifelong belief that one man or woman truly can make a difference."
Assassination and aftermath
Main article: Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
On November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Orthodox Jewish extremist who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords and believed he was saving the country from a dire fate. The shooting took place as Rabin was leaving a mass rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo process. Rabin was rushed to the nearby Ichilov Hospital, where he died on the operating table of massive blood loss and a punctured lung.
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin came as a great shock to the Israeli public. Hundreds of thousands of grieving Israelis thronged the square where Rabin was murdered to mourn his death. Young people, in particular, turned out in large numbers, lighting memorial candles and singing peace songs. Rabin's funeral was attended by many world leaders, among them U.S. president Bill Clinton, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and King Hussein of Jordan. Bill Clinton delivered a eulogy whose memorable final words were in Hebrew - "Shalom, chaver" meaning "Goodbye, Friend."
Before leaving the stage on the night of the murder, Rabin had been singing Shir Lashalom (literally Song for Peace), along with Israeli singer Miri Aloni. After he died a sheet of paper with the lyrics was found in his pocket, stained with blood.
The anniversary of his death is marked in Israel by solemn soul-searching. The square where he was assassinated, Kikar Malchei Yisrael, was renamed Kikar Rabin. Streets and public institutions have been named for him all over the country.
After his assassination, Rabin was hailed as a national symbol and came to embody the Israeli peace camp ethos, despite his military career and hawkish views earlier in life. He is buried on Mount Herzl, next to his wife Leah.