One hundred thousand Israelis paid tribute to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a rally marking the 20th anniversary of his assassination.
Former United States President Bill Clinton spoke at the rally, held Saturday night at the central Tel Aviv plaza bearing Rabin’s name. Clinton, who guided Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with Rabin, praised Rabin’s willingness to take risks for peace and exhorted the crowd to finish his work.
“The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Yitzhak Rabin was right,” Clinton said. “That you have to share the future with your neighbors. That you have to stand for peace. That the risks of peace are not as severe as the risks of walking away from it.”
Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995 following a pro-peace rally at the same Tel Aviv plaza. His assassin, Jewish extremist Yigal Amir, opposed Rabin’s goal of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
President Obama also addressed the rally in a video message, calling Rabin a leader who “understood the dangers Israel faces, but he also said the Palestinians are not to be ruled over forever by force.”
“Yitzhak speaks to us still,” Obama said. “Let us demonstrate that we oppose violence and extremism of any kind, and let us exhaust every opening for the peace we know is just and possible.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the rally, calling on Israelis to mend their internal social rifts.
“Israel’s democracy has not ceased to realize its strength and resilience,” he said.