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This Day In History, 1995: Yitzhak Rabin assassinated

Ten years ago today, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was fatally shot after attending a peace rally held in Tel Aviv's Kings Square in Israel. Rabin later died in surgery at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

His yahrzeit (Hebrew calendar anniversary of his death) is 12 Heshvan, which this year begins the night of Sunday November 13.

I still remember gnomi and I finishing off shabbat that evening, turning on the TV in our old apartment, and hearing the news about his assassination. jik_blog and his wife were in Israel at the time, I believe; as Nomi recalls hearing from them by email about what it was like in Israel that tragic day.

(For more information, see This Day in History. Today's also the 26th anniversary of the Iranian students storming the U.S. embassy in 1979.)


That was the first time I was ever really aware of Israeli politics. My Humanities teacher in HS kept the TV on for the funeral proceedings. I think she thought there was going to be another assassination there.
When I was teaching, I brought in a TV to show my students the launch of space shuttle Discovery with John Glenn aboard, and the ceremonial end to recovery operations at Ground Zero.
I still remember it. I was supposed to go to a friend's birthday party, but we sat glued to the set. The clip the network we were watching chose as its little tag to transition a crowd scene with someone screaming "Lamah?!Lamah?!" in the background. After an hour or so we drifted down to the Israeli Embassy. As one might expect, a crowd gathered. It was a moment of incredible unity. We were all stunned, in shock. looking back, it bore a lot in common with 9-11. Many of us spoke from the crowd. I remember saying:
"I disagreed with Yitzcak Rabin, and I think Oslo was wrong, but he was NEVER, NEVER a traitor to Israel or the Jewish people. He wanted only the best for Israel. Unless we can learn to disagree again without calling each other traitors and enemies, we are all going to end up shooting each other."

I also remember the aftermath as the last brief opportunity to unify religious and nonreligious Jews. It failed.

Man, that was more depressng than I'd intended.

[There is a certain irony in the placement of the Israeli embassy because it is in a block of embassies around Van Ness that are all Middle East embassies, so the Israeli Embassy is surrounded by neighbors who don't recognize it, refuse to establish diplomatic relations, and declare its destruction a matter of policy. Must make block parties awkward.]
Where were you at the time? DC?

December 2016

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