Israel Will Not Commemorate Rabin This Year Due to Lack of Funds

Coalition of groups that usually organize the annual rally failed to secure funding. Labor Party leader responds to cancellation announcement, says will try to hold alternative event.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
The memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv, November 3, 2005
The memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv, November 3, 2005Credit: Reuters
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

This year's memorial ceremony to mark the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has been canceled due to funding difficulties, the organizers announced on Sunday.

It will be the first year in which the ceremony has not been held, since Yitzhak Rabin was killed in 1995.

Following the reports, however, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog responded to the cancellation by saying that his party will take it on iself to organize an alternative event.

"The event has always been organized by private elements," Herzog said. "But in light of the fact that we're talking about our murdered leader, we insist on holding an alternative event, contingent on the schedule and having the necessary conditions for such an event."

Channel 2 reported on Friday that the organizers of the event are liable to announce its cancellation if they were unable to find someone to fund the some 800,000 cost. The money is required primarily for security and technical arrangements.

Tens of thousands gather at Rabin memorial rally in Tel Aviv, October 31, 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

For the past 20 years, the ceremony has been held in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on the Saturday night closest to November 4, the date on which Rabin was assassinated. In recent years, it has been funded by the "Remembering the Murder – Fighting for Democracy" coalition, led by youth groups and social organizations.

This year, however, the coalition has decided to forgo a central rally in favor of round-table events in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa on the publicly recognized memorial day, Sunday November 13.

Asaf Agmon and Chemi Sal, who produced the event in recent years, had been making a determined effort to hold a central ceremony. They have booked Rabin Square for a central event next Saturday night and obtained the necessary permits. They have even approached public figures and performers about appearing at the event.

Agmon earlier told Haaretz that he expected the government to assume financing of the ceremony. "It's really unacceptable that we have to take donations to hold an event commemorating a formative event in the life of our country."

The coalition of organizations that funded the previous ceremonies has announced that round table events will take place on November 13 in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, Safra Square, Jerusalem, and Gan Ha'a, Haifa, under the banner "An Israeli Meeting."

Participants will sit at round tables and "discuss the country's democratic character and set a direction regarding the burning issues in Israeli society."

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