PROMOTING Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy of peace and tolerance will be the theme of events planned by the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) to mark the 25th anniversary of the Israeli prime minister’s assassination.
The politician, statesman and general was Israel’s fifth PM, serving in 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995, by Yigal Amir, an Israeli right-wing extremist.
ZFA president Jeremy Leibler said his organisation is working with partners such as the Rabin Centre in Israel and the Israeli Embassy in Canberra on a diverse offering of cultural and educational events in the lead-up to the anniversary. “The continuing COVID-19 crisis may have put a damper on certain plans, but it has also created opportunities to ensure that every Jewish community in Australia can participate.”
The keynote event, to be held virtually on October 29, will feature an oration by Omer Bar-Lev, a former MK who was in the military team negotiating the first agreement with the Palestinians after the Oslo Accords. Bar-Lev credits Rabin for his outstanding contributions in his last years as PM to make peace with the Palestinians and the Jordanians.
Following Rabin’s assassination, Bar-Lev joined Generation of Peace, which led him to found Acharai, a movement working to empower marginalised Israeli youth and educate them in democracy and Zionism. Rabin’s daughter Dalia Rabin will give an address and light a candle.
The ZFA will launch a book with reflections on Rabin’s life and legacy by key Australians, available free on the ZFA’s website, covering themes such as peace, tolerance and the impact Rabin’s life, death and legacy had on the contributors’ lives.
In addition, the ZFA is curating and collating educational tools and materials from a range of sources including the Rabin Centre, for use in Jewish schools, through UJEB and BJE, and through the youth movements and AUJS.
“The Rabin assassination sent shockwaves through a generation of Israelis and Diaspora Jewry,” said Leibler. “Like other significant moments in history, most Jewish Australians will remember precisely what they were doing the morning that the news came through to Australia that the prime minister had been assassinated by a fellow Jew. This is an opportunity to start an important conversation about Rabin’s legacy.”
ZFA CEO Ginette Searle stated, “This is also an opportunity to bring the lessons of the assassination and the importance of Rabin’s legacy to a new generation of Jewish youth, who were not yet born during the height of the Oslo Peace Accords.”