Groups Vie Over Nature of Rabin's Memorial Rallies

Nonprofit led by son Yuval Rabin to hold 19th annual event promoting regional peace accord in memory of the slain prime minister; other groups to organize nonpolitical rally.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Crowds gather at a rally to mark the 18th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, Oct. 12, 2013.
Crowds gather at a rally to mark the 18th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, Oct. 12, 2013.Credit: Daniel Bar On
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

The Israeli Peace Initiative nonprofit organization has announced that it will be holding its own rally to mark the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The left-wing group, which supports a regional peace agreement based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, said Sunday that it would hold a rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, November 1.

A coalition of youth movements that are planning another memorial event, supporting democracy and opposing violence and racism, said they were surprised by the Israeli Peace Initiative rally. They said they would hold their rally in any case, but had not decided on a date.

The Israeli Peace Initiative is headed by Yuval Rabin, the son of the slain premier, and by businessman and social activist Koby Huberman.

“At this year’s rally we will call on the government of Israel to initiate a regional diplomatic agreement that will allow citizens of Israel to enjoy true quiet, security and economic prosperity for a long time, not just between conflicts,” Yuval Rabin was quoted as saying in the organization’s statement to the press on Sunday.

The statement also said that the “failure of the Kerry initiative and the other attempts to reach an agreement via bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians, proves that the only way to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict is to cooperate with leading countries in the region that have security interests identical to Israel’s. In light of the new opportunity created in the region after Operation Protective Edge, the government of Israel must ... initiate regional diplomatic steps that will gradually lead to an end to the conflict and the establishment of two states for two peoples.”

The Yitzhak Rabin Center, which had produced the commemoration events, announced ahead of the 15th anniversary of the assassination that it would no longer do so. Prime Minister Rabin’s daughter, Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, told Haaretz that “the format of that rally has been exhausted.”

Thus, a new group, an association that calls itself The Fourth of November (the date of Rabin’s assassination), organized the rally in 2010. The next year, in addition to the event that group produced, another group, Dror Israel – affiliated with the youth movement Histadrut Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed – held its own rally. The organizers of each of the rallies claimed that theirs more faithfully reflected Rabin’s legacy.

Eventually, The Fourth of November cancelled its rallies and Dror Israel began to organize one memorial event, as it did last year, with other youth movements and organizations. The organizers made efforts to keep the gathering nonpolitical and to include all sectors of the population.

This year, however, The Fourth of November is back in the picture and is producing the rally together with the Israeli Peace Initiative.

“At this year’s rally," said Reuven Wimmer, an advertising executive and one of the founders of the Fourth of November association, "it is not at all certain that politicians will take part. The main message will be to call on the government to respond to the Arab-Saudi peace initiative and to adopt it as part of the framework for negotiations.”

Wimmer added that, “the rally will not only commemorate Rabin, but also a regional peace agreement that was part of that legacy.”

Wimmer also explained that he hoped the trend toward dwindling numbers of participants in recent years will be reversed this year.

“We want everyone to come to the event. The 'color' of the rally is blue and white, and that is the flag of all of Israel,” he said.

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