Tens of Thousands Attend 'Depoliticized' Rally Marking Rabin's Assassination

Rally to be addressed by ex-Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit, settler leader Oded Revivi ■ 'Rabin’s assassination does not belong to the leftist camp, its lessons must be learned by the entire public,' organizers say

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israelis rally to commemorate the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Nov 4, 2017.
Israelis rally to commemorate the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Nov 4, 2017.Credit: Meged Guzani
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Tens of thousands attended Saturday night’s memorial rally for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, despite harsh criticism of the event by those on the left.

Left-wingers objected to the lack of any messages about peace at the rally and to organizers’ refusal to mention the incitement that leftists believe led to Rabin’s murder 22 years ago. Organizers also refused to let any national politicians address the crowd, in an effort to draw people from outside the left to the annual rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

One person who was invited to speak – and was booed by the crowd – was Oded Revivi, mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat. After noting that he was invited over the left’s objections, he continued, “Some people think unity is the opposite of polarization. But I disagree. Unity doesn’t mean ideological agreement, but rather the ability, even in the heat of argument, to continue meeting, listening, speaking, persuading and being persuaded, to manage to unite around the understanding that we are brothers and one nation.”

Revivi was preceded by Thabet Abu Rass, co-executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, a coexistence group. He said he was both “Israeli and Palestinian, and am speaking to you today in the name of both these identities, in the understanding that they don’t negate each other.”

“As an Israeli, I demand shared and equal citizenship; as a Palestinian, I seek the end of the occupation of members of my people who live without rights in territories under my country’s control,” he continued, adding that Rabin’s murder “was aimed precisely at these two goals.”

Israelis attend a rally to mark the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, on November 4, 2017, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP

Amnon Reshef, the chairman of one of the rally’s organizers, Commanders for Israel’s Security, said only a combination of military superiority and diplomatic moves could ensure Israel’s future. “The Palestinians aren’t going anywhere, and we are here forever,” he added.

Kobi Richter, chairman of the other organizer, a group called Darkenu, said most settlers reject the extremists among them and understand the need for “a state with a Jewish majority, full civic equality and strong democratic institutions,” while most Tel Avivans want “to create a true connection with moderates who think differently from them but share the same goal. We are the moderates who listen to each other from both sides of the political centerline. We are the vast majority. What unites us is greater than what divides us.”

Among the many decisions by organizers that outraged left-wingers were the omission of the word “murder” from the rally’s ads, the ban on left-wing parties and organizations setting up booths at the event, as they had in previous years, and the invitation to another settler, Esther Brot, to address the event. All three decisions were later reversed.

Thousands gather at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in memory of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, November 4, 2017.Credit: Meged Guzani

Nevertheless, both Peace Now and the Meretz party said they were asked to remove their booths, which organizers said was because they hadn’t obtained permits. Both groups refused. Moreover, though the word “murder” was added to the ads, it remained absent on some of the signs in Rabin Square.

For the first time ever, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party attended the rally, along with party colleague MK Nissan Slomiansky and MK Yehudah Glick (Likud). Ariel said he came because the organizers didn’t make it political, and “I wanted to see if we could stand here together and denounce violence and Rabin’s despicable murder.”

But left-wing politicians attending were less happy. “Ultimately, the victors are writing history,” said Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay. “The key thing to do to preserve Rabin’s legacy is to win the election and return the peace camp to the place it deserves.”

Several nonpoliticians present said they approved of the rally’s nonpolitical nature. But others were furious. “You can’t blur the terrible incitement that happened in the name of a false unity,” said Peace Now activist Asher Albo.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott