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“When you don’t believe Arabs are equal to you, that they’re second-class citizens, you can’t have peace,” Pardo told JTA. “You talk to them about the democratic rules of the game. Even if there’s no assassination now, there are a lot of things in society that break the rules of the game.”
Yeshoshua, the principal at Torah U’Melachah High School, also emphasized tolerance and the importance of stable government during the Tel Aviv school’s commemoration of the assassination. Though Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, hailed from Israel’s Orthodox community, Yehoshua said he does not shy away from condemning the religious incitement that led to the murder.
“This is very important – why was there anger?” asked Yehoshua, who declined to give his last name because the Education Ministry had not authorized him to talk to a reporter. “We talked about having conversations about things you don’t accept and how important it is to safeguard the government.”
Yehoshua said that although teachers talked about “the desire for peace,” they did not focus on the peace process.
“We don’t go into politics,” he said. “It’s not just political. It affects every person.”
Some of Yehoshua’s students say they don’t attribute much significance to the assassination.
“I don’t take any lesson from it,” said Vova Baronov, 14. “It’s sad, but God must have wanted it to happen.”
Guy, who is also a youth group counselor for 11-year-olds and will be drafted into the Israeli army in about two years, said his students were “very interested and very mature” when he discussed the assassination with them.
Pardo said many of her students are deeply affected when they learn about the assassination.
“You understand the difference between good and evil at every age,” she said. “When you talk to kids, even though they weren’t born yet, they feel hurt by it.”