2015-11-11 / Editorial

A commitment to civil discourse, democracy must be Rabin’s legacy

For many of those who were alive and remember the day when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, the shock and utter disbelief of that moment has not diminished. The time between the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and Rabin’s assassination at the hands of an Israeli opposed to the peace process with the Palestinians was one of strenuous disagreement both in Israel and in the world Jewish community.

Yet who could have believed that an Israeli Jew would gun down the prime minister of the Jewish State. What had become of the Jewish people that one of us could have committed such an atrocity?

On Nov. 4, Israel and Jews around the world marked the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder. Approximately 100,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to remember Rabin as well as to look toward the future. Former President Bill Clinton addressed the crowd and President Obama spoke via video.

Today, just as 20 years ago, the path forward is controversial. How to respond to the current violence against innocent Israelis and what form the peace process should take continue to divide both Israelis and Israel’s friends throughout the world.

One fact, however, is incontrovertible. Despite the disagreements, the way forward must be conducted in a civil, democratic manner.

A core principle of Jewish life, as indicated in the Talmud (Shevuot, 39a) has always been “Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze’bazeh,” (All Israel is responsible for each other). There has always been, and continues to be, much more that unites us than divides us. A look around the world makes clear that there are enough people who would do us harm. We don’t have to add to that number by being the enemies of each other. That must be part of Yitzhak Rabin’s enduring legacy. .

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