A Refusal to Remain Silent

Author David Grossman gave a stirring address at yesterday's annual event in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to commemorate the slain prime minister's legacy.

"The annual memorial ceremony for Rabin is the moment at which we stop for a second and remember Rabin the man, the leader. And we look at ourselves, at Israeli society, its leadership, the national mood, the state of the peace process, from our own places as private people amid broader national developments," he said.

Onlookers stood in total quiet when Grossman took the stage. I, for one, will always be grateful to him for his "hollow leadership" speech after the Second Lebanon War and the death of his son Uri in uniform. I'm also grateful for his courage and the call to all of us to remain fearless. Israel's leadership has been replaced, but it remains hollow as ever.

Back then, Grossman accused Israel's leadership of promoting "anxieties and fears." He said,"They are not real leaders, certainly not the kind that a nation in such a complex, tortuous situation requires," he said.

What has changed since then? Just the leaders' names. Here we stand, at the annual mourning over Yitzhak Rabin, and remember the man who eschewed the kind of wheeling and dealing we now know so well. Rabin wanted peace for the sake of our lives here, and fought to give us normal lives in an enlightened nation, and promised to do just that in plain Hebrew. We, the Israelis, were his agenda - plain and simple.

We could learn a thing or two from Grossman. First, that we should show up to the annual memorial for Rabin, not out of despair over our hollow leadership, but because of us. We must learn from him not to remain silent and not to let that leadership denigrate us.

We must also be there because of peace and normalcy, Israeliness and Jewishness. Because of our loyalty to what Israel was and needs to be. Rabin and his legacy deserve it.