Israeli Youth See Rabin's Killing as Lesson

Assassination Teaches Dangers of Jewish Extremism

History Lesson: Seventeen years later, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination is still teaching an important lesson to Israeli youth.
getty images
History Lesson: Seventeen years later, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination is still teaching an important lesson to Israeli youth.

By JTA

Published November 05, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

About a year before Guy Ben-Simon was born, his parents attended the Tel Aviv rally where Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

It was a night of shock and sadness, they recalled for him while he was growing up. They had called all of their friends, telling those who had not heard that the prime minister had been killed.

“They cried,” said Guy, 16, repeating his parents’ story. “Everyone cried. It was very hard to unite after that because something bad had happened.”

Guy is now a member of HaNoar Ha’Oved V’HaLomed, a left-wing youth group traditionally tied to Rabin’s Labor Party. He’s also part of a cohort of Israelis born after the Nov. 4, 1995 assassination who have no firsthand memory of Rabin’s killing and are learning about it as part of history.

Seventeen years on, Rabin’s assassination is refracted through the lens of contemporary Israel, taught and remembered in different ways depending on who is doing the teaching. In youth movements and in schools, his killing offers a lesson in the dangers of ideological extremism.

“You don’t really talk about Rabin the person,” said Hadar Pardo, 23, one of Guy’s youth group counselors. “You talk to them about seeing peace and trying to make peace even if it’s not part of your everyday life.”

In a sign of the changed political landscape in Israel, where even the left has shifted away from emphasis on negotiations with the Palestinians, Rabin’s official commemoration this year emphasized not peace but the importance of the democratic process. Some 20,000 people attended the Oct. 27 memorial, which highlighted the dangers of the “price tag” movement – a strategy adopted by a group of extremist Israeli settlers who deface and destroy Arab property and holy sites in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions, or for Palestinian attacks on Jews.

Pardo, who attended the commemoration at the site where Rabin was killed – now called Rabin Square – said she, too, focuses on democracy rather than peace in discussing the assassination with her students.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.