The murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which took place in downtown Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995, will take place again on Sunday – but this time, in the Popes’ Palace in Avignon, France.
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The one-time event is the latest production by Israeli director Amos Gitai, who, after having produced a documentary film on Rabin’s murder last year, has now returned to the subject. But unlike “Rabin, the Last Day,” which investigated what happened on the day of the murder, his latest work, called “Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold,” is based on the recollections of Rabin’s wife, Leah. It will be performed in Avignon as part of the Festival d’Avignon.
The interdisciplinary show, which lasts for an hour and 40 minutes, includes both Jewish and Arab performers, with two different actresses portraying Leah Rabin on the night of the murder – Sarah Adler and Hiam Abbass. The performance also features a choir, Le Choeur du Luberon, as well as actress Einat Weitzman, who also appeared in “Rabin, the Last Day.” But this time, Weitzman won’t be acting; she’ll be serving as the videographer who records what happens on stage. Her footage will then be screened on the wall of the palace, along with other video clips dealing with the murder.
In addition to this show, Gitai currently has two exhibitions on Rabin’s murder on display in Europe, one at the Collection Lambert gallery in Avignon and one at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The exhibitions, also called “Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold,” deal only with the murder itself, Gitai said. They include copies of items taken from the scene of the murder, documents related to the investigation of the murder and the incitement that preceded it, photographs, notes and more.
The Collection Lambert exhibition also includes a screening of scenes from the murder as staged in Gitai’s 2015 film. In addition, a movie theater in Avignon will show a documentary he made 20 years ago, “The Arena of Murder,” which examines the murder from a more personal perspective, via the personal experiences of Gitai and people close to him.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by ultranationalist Yigal Amir on November 4 1995, toward the end of a rally in support of a peace agreement with the Palestinians at the Kings of Israel Square, now known as Rabin Square, in Tel Aviv.
In a telephone interview from Avignon, Gitai said his preoccupation with Rabin’s murder stems from a feeling of civic obligation.
“In my view, Rabin is the only person who, at the moment, poses an alternative to the Israeli government,” he said. “The alternative is the dead man. So I decided to talk with the dead man, thinking that I want to remind people about this and to deal with it. Compared to what exists today, this is important.
“I don’t do this out of personal admiration for Rabin, but because I’ve been thinking about how different mediums – plastic arts, cinema and theater – can deal with a historic event,” he continued. “The event itself has implications for the entire Middle East, and especially, of course, for Israel. The worldview of moderation has been replaced here by a belligerent worldview.”
The exhibition in Avignon will be open until November 16, while the one in Brussels will be open until September 4.