Some 20,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to attend a rally in memory of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The rally, scheduled to begin at 19.30 P.M., took place in Tel Aviv's Rabin square where the prime minister was murdered 17 years ago. The organizers announced that no politicians were slated to speak at the event.
This year's rally was organized by a broad coalition of youth movements and social organizations, who said they plan to highlight the need to protect democratic values today, while talking about the incitement that preceded Rabin's assassination.
Among those scheduled to speak at the rally were poet Haim Gouri, former education minister Yuli Tamir, Rabbi Avi Gisser and Bnei Akiva religious youth movement head Dan Hirschberg.
First to speak, Gouri said that "an evil wind" is blowing in Israel, allowing "price tag" vandals to roam free. The term "Price-tag" refers to attacks and acts of vandalism by Jewish settlers against Palestinians and other targets, mainly in the West Bank.
"We must oppose any manifestation of violence from right or left," Hirschberg said later on Saturday on stage, "Against 'price tag' perpetrators and anarchists… against those hurling stones at IDF soldiers, against those burning mosques and against those who incite violence between the people living here."
Though not invited to speak at the event, Israel Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich told reporters on Saturday that the rally is "a direct continuation" of Rabin's legacy, which included "the pursuit of peace, of Zionism, of social aspects and of the attempt to bridge between different groups." Yacimovich also spoke highly of the tradition to hold the annual rally, labeling it "extraordinary in its depth and meaning."
A second rally, which was scheduled for next week, has been canceled at the last minute. Its producer Hemi Sal, who produced past rallies, said the move was made in attempt to avoid rift between the organizations.
Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, during a rally in support of the peace process at the square by Yigal Amir. Following the murder, the name of the square, originally Malchei Yisrael square - was changed in his the prime minister's memory.
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