Upheaval Gives Rabin Rally a New Facet

Until yesterday morning, tomorrow night's rally in Tel Aviv to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination was energized primarily by the prospect of former U.S. president Bill Clinton's appearance as a key speaker. Even the expectations for a larger crowd than at previous memorial rallies was related to the participation of the man who a decade ago coined the phrase "Shalom, haver." But Amir Peretz's election as Labor Party leader and the ensuing political earthquake will now also impact the rally.

The temporal proximity makes tomorrow's rally the first occasion on which the left-wing parties and peace movements can present their wares and set themselves apart in light of the new political reality. They mean to handle this delicately, but with determination, and have no intention of missing this opportunity to explain who they are at a well-attended event that will also receive television coverage in Israel and abroad.

"There will clearly be a battle of presence and visibility," says a Geneva Initiative activist. "The rally is taking place on an extremely significant date in view of the thinking about a new political arena and impending elections."

His movement will bring a particularly large contingent of supporters to the rally, armed with informational materials, and will float a huge balloon featuring its slogan, "Yes to an agreement."

Meretz-Yahad also knows there will be quite a few left-wing constituents there who now face a new reality. The party will apparently stick to brandishing its moderate slogan - "Meretz-Yahad - Home of the Left," leaving the more aggressive approach to its young guard. The chair of Meretz Youth, Uri Zaki, promises to be there in force with an unprecedented amount of provocative material.

Peace Now has decided against campaigning at the rally, but this year it will display its presence there independently from the Majority Coalition, the umbrella organization of peace groups.

It remains to be seen how the Labor Party will act, having previously consented to a request from the organizers not to give the event a partisan aspect.