Gantz to Be Main Speaker at Event Marking 24th Anniversary of Rabin's Murder

Organizers of next Saturday's event are appealing to the public for donations after, for the first time, no movement or non-profit has agreed to sponsor it

Benny Gantz, leader of Israel's Blue and White party, gestures as he delivers a statement before his party faction meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel September 19, 2019.
Amir Cohen/REUTERS

Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz will be the keynote speaker at the main event Saturday night marking the 24th anniversary of the assassination of  Yitzhak Rabin.

The annual gathering takes place on the Tel Aviv square now named after the slain prime minister, who was shot dead by a far-rightist in 1995.

On Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin tapped Gantz to try to form a coalition government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so following last month's general election.  

Other speakers at the Tel Aviv rally will include Shimon Sheves, who was the director general of the Prime Minister's Office under Rabin, and Yaron Zilberman, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the feature film "Incitement," which tells the story of Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, during the period leading up to the killing.

The organizers say this is the first year they are seeking contributions from the public to fund the event, because no movement or nonprofit group has agreed to sponsor.

Sources involved in putting on this year's rally say contributions from members of the public are only expected to cover a small portion of the cost. In addition to seeking financial support, the organizers are looking for volunteers to help with the logistics.

The theme this year will be "Yes to Peace, No to Violence," which was the theme of the 1995 peace rally where Rabin was shot. Excerpts from "Incitement" will also be shown.

In recent years, the organizers have encountered repeated financial and organizational problems that threatened to cancel the event. There have also been disagreements over whether it should be political in nature and whether it was still appropriate to hold a mass rally marking the assassination more than two decades later.

The government only provided funding for the first anniversary of the assassination, said Hemi Sal, this year's producer. A number of entities have sponsored the event over the years. Last year the rally was sponsored by the nonprofit group Darkenu.