Thousands of people attended a rally marking the 24th anniversary of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz, the keynote and only political figure speaking at the rally, said that these days "Hatred has once again become a dangerous weapon in the hands of politicians who have no boundaries."
"Rabin was murdered because of because of factionalism, because of incitement, because of hatred. Twenty-four years later and Rabin is not with us, but to our misfortune and our disgrace, incitement is rearing its ugly head," Gantz added.
“As the prime minister of Israel I shall aspire and act to turn this rally into an official rally shared by all of Israeli society,” said Gantz, who was asked in October to form the next government, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned his mandate to President Reuven Rivlin. “I want this square to be balanced, for all the streams to find their place in it and to sincerely mourn this debased murder.”
The slogan of Saturday’s rally was “Yes to peace, no to violence,” just as it was for the peace rally at the end of which Rabin was gunned down. Also scheduled to speak were the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office during Rabin’s second term, Shimon Sheves; Yaron Zilberman, a filmmaker whose recently released thriller, “Incitement,” depicts the year leading up to the assassination, and activists from the organization Women Wage Peace. Rachel Rabin, Yitzhak’s sister, who is 94, attended the rally but did not give a speech.
Michal Magen, who lives in the outer suburb of Kfar Sava, told a reporter that she decided to attend Saturday’s rally after a hiatus of two years, in the wake of comments made Tuesday night at a pro-Netanyahu rally by an Israeli academic in support of a conspiracy theory according to which Yigal Amir was not Rabin’s murderer.
“In the past two years I didn’t come to the rally because of the sucking-up to the right, which sought a balance among the speakers. Motti Keidar, who denied the murder, caused me to decide to come tonight. He was the trigger that told me nothing would stand in my way. It’s no longer ‘wild weeds,’ it’s a field of thorns,” Magen said. “I am not prepared for there to be once again someone who will say these things and for someone to believe him. It’s very important to tell the next generation what happened here,” she said.
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Traffic on the streets surrounding Rabin Square was rerouted in expectation of large crowds at the rally.
Popular musicians including Aviv Gefen and Achinoam Nini (also known as Noa) performed at the event, but singer Maor Edri pulled out, saying on Facebook that it was a political event.