Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

Infobox Prime Minister
name =Yitzhak Rabin
Hebrew|יִצְחָק רַבִּין

order =5th Prime Minister of Israel
term_start =13 July 1992
term_end =4 November 1995
predecessor =Yitzhak Shamir
successor =Shimon Peres
term_start2 =3 June 1974
term_end2 =22 April 1977
predecessor2 =Golda Meir
successor2 =Menachem Begin
birth_date =birth date|1922|3|1|df=y
birth_place =Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
death_date =death date and age|1995|11|4|1922|3|1
death_place =Tel Aviv, Israel
party =Alignment, Labor Party
spouse =Leah Rabin
children =Dalia Rabin-Pelossof
Yuval Rabin
religion =Judaism

Audio|He-Yitzhak_Rabin.ogg|Yitzhak Rabin ( _he. יִצְחָק רַבִּין , (1 March 1922–4 November 1995) was an Israeli politician and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–1977 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat. He was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli radical opposed to Rabin's signing of the Oslo Accords. Rabin was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the only prime minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol.


Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922 to Nehemiah and Rosa, two pioneers of the Third Aliyah. Nehemiah Rubitzov, born in a small Ukrainian town in 1886, lost his father when he was a child and worked to support his family from a young age. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the United States, where he joined the Poale Zion party and changed his surname to Rabin. In 1917, he went to Palestine with a group of volunteers from the Jewish Legion. Rabin's mother, Rosa Cohen, was born in 1890 in Mohilev in Belarus. Her father, a rabbi, opposed the Zionism movement, but sent Rosa to a Christian high school for girls in Homel, enabling her to acquire a broad general education. Early on, Rosa took an interest in political and social causes. In 1919, she sailed to Palestine on the S.S. Ruslan, the bellwether of the Third Aliyah. After working on a kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, she moved to Jerusalem. [ [http://www.dadalos.org/int/Vorbilder/vorbilder/rabin/leben.htm#Eltern Yitzhak Rabin – from soldier to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate] Dadalos]

Rabin grew up in Tel Aviv, where the family relocated when he was one year old. In 1940, he graduated with distinction from the Kadoori Agricultural High School and hoped to be an irrigation engineer. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/State/Yitzhak+Rabin.htm Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Yitzhak Rabin 1922 - 1995] However, apart from several courses in military strategy in the United Kingdom later on, he never pursued a degree.

Rabin married during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Leah was working at the time as a reporter for a Palmach newspaper. They had two children, Dalia and Yuval. After Rabin's assassination, Dalia entered into politics. In 2001, she was Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense.

Military career


In 1941, during his practical training at kibbutz Ramat Yohanan, Rabin joined the Palmach section of the Haganah, and rose to the position of Chief Operations Officer in October 1947. He commanded the Harel Brigade that fought on the road to Jerusalem during the beginning of the 1948 Israel Arab war.

IDF service

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Rabin directed Israeli operations in Jerusalem and fought the Egyptian army in the Negev.

He participated in the altercation between the IDF and the Irgun on the beach of Tel Aviv as part of the Altalena Affair.

In 1949 he helped draft an armistice agreement with the Arab countries that was signed on the island of Rhodes. He was the senior member of the Palmach that remained in the IDF after the end of war.

In 1964 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Under his command, the IDF achieved victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War in 1967. After the Old City of Jerusalem was captured by the IDF, Rabin was among the first to visit the Old City, and delivered a famous speech on Mount Scopus, at the Hebrew University. In the days leading up to the war, it was reported that Rabin suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to function. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/17/AR2007051701976.html Prelude to the Six Days] Washington Post, 18 May 2007] After this short hiatus, he resumed full command over the IDF.

Ambassador and Minister of Labour

Following his retirement from the IDF, he became a diplomat, serving as ambassador to the United States beginning in 1968. In 1973, he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Alignment, and was appointed Israeli Minister of Labour by Golda Meir in April 1974. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/rabin.html Jewish Virtual Library] Yitzhak Rabin]

First term as Prime Minister

On 2 June 1974 Rabin was elected party leader and succeeded Golda Meir as Prime Minister of Israel.

Operation Entebbe was perhaps the most dramatic event during Rabin's first term of office. On his orders, the IDF performed a long-range undercover raid to rescue passengers of an airliner that had been hijacked by militants belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Wadie Haddad faction and the German Revolutionary Cells (RZ), and had been brought to Idi Amin's Uganda. The operation was generally considered a tremendous success, and its spectacular character has made it the subject of much continued comment and study.

Rabin resigned from office in the wake of two crises at the end of 1976: Four F-15 jets were delivered on the Sabbath, which led to the break up of his coalition; and it was discovered that his wife, Leah, continued to hold a US dollar account from the days that Rabin was ambassador to the United States. According to Israeli currency regulations at the time, it was illegal for citizens to maintain foreign currency accounts. In the wake of this disclosure, Rabin handed in his resignation, an act that earned him praise as a responsible person and a man of integrity. Following the March 1977 meeting between U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rabin, Rabin publicly announced that the U.S. supported the Israeli idea of defensible borders. Carter then issued a clarification. A "fallout" in U.S./Israeli relations ensued. It is thought that the fallout contributed to the Israeli Labor Party defeat in the May 1977 elections. [William B. Quandt (2005) Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967 University of California Press, ISBN 0520246314 and ISBN 9780520246317 p 182]

Opposition MK and Minister of Defense

Following his resignation and Labor Party defeat at the elections, Likud's Menachem Begin was elected in 1977. Until 1984 Rabin was a member of Knesset and sat on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. From 1984 to 1990, he served as Minister of Defense in several unity governments led by prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres.

When Rabin came to office, Israeli troops were still deep in Lebanon. Rabin ordered their withdrawal to a "Security Zone" on the Lebanese side of the border. The South Lebanon Army was active in this zone, along with the Israeli Defence Forces.

When the first Intifada broke out, Rabin adopted harsh measures to stop the demonstrations, even authorizing the use of "Force, might and beatings," on the demonstrators. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DA1E31F935A15752C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all New York Times] Published: January 26, 1988 "U.S. Jews Torn Over Arab Beatings" By David K. Shipler] [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6DE1431F931A25754C0A966958260 New York times] 12 July, 1990 "Israel Declines to Study Rabin Tie to Beatings" "Mr. Rabin has steadfastly denied issuing "an illegal order or one which went against the decision of the Government." He did say, however, that soldiers were encouraged to subdue violent Palestinians with "the use of clubs while trying as much as possible to avoid using live ammunition" at the beginning of the uprising."] Rabin the "bone breaker" was used as an International image. [Shlaim Avi (2000) "The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World" Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-028870-8 p 453] The combination of the failure of the "Iron Fist" policy, Israel's deteriorating international image and Jordan cutting legal and administrative ties to the West Bank with the U.S.'s recognition of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people forced Rabin to seek an end the violence though negotiation and dialogue with the PLO. [Shlaim Avi (2000) "The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World" Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-028870-8 pp 455-457] [ [http://www.fpri.org/peacefacts/023.199511.sicherman.rabinappreciation.html Foreign Policy Research Institute] Yitzhak Rabin: An Appreciation By Harvey Sicherman]

In 1990 to 1992, Rabin again served as an MK and a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. This time, he used his days in the opposition to compete against Shimon Peres for the chairmanship of the Labor Party, a position held by Peres since 1977.

econd term as Prime Minister

In 1992 Rabin was elected as chairman of the Labor Party. In the elections that year his party, strongly focusing on the popularity of its leader, managed to win a clear victory over the Likud of incumbent Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. However the left-wing bloc in the Knesset only won an overall narrow majority, facilitated by the disqualification of small nationalist parties that did not manage to pass the electoral threshold. Rabin formed the first Labor-led government in fifteen years, supported by a coalition of left wing parties and Shas, a Mizrahi ultra-orthodox religious party.

Rabin played a leading role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian National Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Prior to the signing of the accords, Rabin received a letter from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat renouncing violence and officially recognizing Israel, and on the same day, 9 September 1993, Rabin sent Arafat a letter officially recognizing the PLO. During this term of office, Rabin also oversaw the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace in 1994.

For his role in the creation of the Oslo Accords, Rabin was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. [ [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1994/rabin-bio.html Nobel Prize. org] ] [ [http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1994/ Nobel Prize.org] 1994 Nobel Prize Laureates] The Accords greatly divided Israeli society, with some seeing Rabin as a hero for advancing the cause of peace and some seeing him as a traitor for giving away land rightfully belonging to Israel. Many Israelis on the right wing often blame him for Jewish deaths from the sharp increase in terror attacks since the signing of the Oslo accords. Also, Rabin's government was kept in office with the tacit support of Israeli Arab parties in the Knesset.

Rabin was also awarded the 1994 Ronald Reagan Freedom Award by the late President's wife, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The award is only given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide," and who "embody President Reagan's lifelong belief that one man or woman truly can make a difference." [ [http://www.reaganfoundation.org/programs/cpa/awards.asp The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award] Reagan Foundation]

Assassination and aftermath

On 4 November 1995 Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords and believed he was saving the country from a dire fate. The shooting took place in the evening as Rabin was leaving a mass rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo process. Rabin was rushed to the nearby Ichilov Hospital, where he died on the operating table of blood loss and a punctured lung.

After an emergency cabinet meeting, Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres was appointed as acting Israeli prime minister. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/4/newsid_2514000/2514437.stm BBC] On This Day]

The assassination of Rabin came as a great shock to the Israeli public. Hundreds of thousands of grieving Israelis thronged the square where Rabin was assassinated to mourn his death. Young people, in particular, turned out in large numbers, lighting memorial candles and singing peace songs. Rabin's funeral was attended by many world leaders, among them US president Bill Clinton, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and King Hussein of Jordan. Bill Clinton delivered a eulogy whose memorable final words were in Hebrew - "Shalom, Haver" ( _he. שלום חבר, lit. "Goodbye, Friend"). [ [http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9511/rabin/umbrella/index.html CNN] The Assassination and Funeral of Yitzhak Rabin]

Before leaving the stage on the night of the assassination, Rabin had been singing Shir LaShalom (literally "Song for Peace"), along with Israeli singer Miri Aloni. After he died, a sheet of paper with the lyrics was found in his pocket, stained with blood.

The square where he was assassinated, Kikar Malkhei Yisrael (Kings of Israel Square), was renamed Rabin Square. Streets and public institutions have been named after him all over the country. After his assassination, Rabin was hailed as a national symbol and came to embody the Israeli peace camp ethos, despite his military career and hawkish views earlier in life. [ [http://info.jpost.com/1998/Supplements/Rabin/7.html Jpost] Third anniversary commemoration "Yitzhak Rabin: The Sabra, the Mensch" By Abraham Rabinovich] He is buried on Mount Herzl. In November 2000, his wife Leah died and was buried alongside him.

As with many political assassinations, there is much debate regarding the background of Rabin's murder. There are a number of conspiracy theories related to the assassination of Rabin.


In 1995 the Israeli Postal Authority issued a commemorative Rabin stamp. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990-1995/Commemorative%20Rabin%20Stamp Commemorative Rabin Stamp] Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] In 2005, there were 14 neighborhoods; 24 streets and boulevards, two bridges; 36 schools and educational campuses; 11 gardens and groves; 7 parks; 13 memorials; a youth hostel in Jerusalem; a promenade in Binyamina; two complexes of government offices; three community centers and two synagogues named after Rabin. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/830976.html Meet me on the corner of Ze'evi and Kahane] Haaretz, 27 February 2007]

ee also

*List of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
*List of Israel's Chiefs of the General Staff
*200 Greatest Israelis

Further reading

*Benedikt, Linda: "Yitzhak Rabin: The Battle for Peace", ISBN 1-904950-06-X.
*Horovitz, David (editor): "Shalom, Friend: the Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin", ISBN 1-55704-287-X
*Kurzman, Dan: "Soldier of Peace: The Life of Yitzhak Rabin", ISBN 0-06-018684-4
*Rabin, Leah: "Rabin: Our Life, His Legacy", ISBN 0-399-14217-7
*Rabin, Yitzhak: "The Rabin Memoirs", ISBN 0-520-20766-1
*Dr. Uri Milstein, "The Rabin File", ISBN 965229196-X


External links

* [http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Government/Memorial/PrimeMinisters/Rabin.htm Memorial biography] Prime Minister's Office
* [http://www.pmo.gov.il/nr/exeres/BF18509C-3BAA-43E0-BD8B-CDB7DA3001EA.htm Official government biography] Prime Minister's Office
* [http://www.otn.com/netking Yitzhak Rabin Condolence and Memorial Website]
* [http://www.isracast.com/transcripts/021105a_trans.htm One of the last recorded interviews with Yitzhak Rabin] - a six-minute interview with David Esing, recorded one month before his assassination.
* [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/eulogy.html Eulogies at the Funeral of Prime Minister Rabin] Jewish Virtual Library
*Dromi, Uri (Nov. 5, 2005). "Still craving peace 10 years after Rabin". "New Straits Times", p. 20.
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4405778.stm "Israel marks Rabin assassination"] . (Nov. 5, 2005). "BBC".

NAME=Rabin, Yitzhak
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=יִצְחָק רַבִּין (Hebrew)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Prime Minister of Israel
DATE OF BIRTH=1 March 1922
PLACE OF BIRTH=Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
DATE OF DEATH=4 November 1995
PLACE OF DEATH=Tel Aviv, Israel

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