Group honors dead Israeli leader

by Elizabeth Cook

As the temperature dipped Monday, about 20 people stood outside Coffman Union holding signs of peace for a memorial service to honor Yitzhak Rabin.

Ten years ago, according to the Hebrew calendar, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated.

The Hebrew calendar is a solar calendar that has 12 28-day months and every third year, a 13th month, said Stephen Feinstein, the director of the University’s Center for Genocide and Holocaust Studies.

Rabin was assassinated Nov. 4, 1995, by an Israeli gunman after attending a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Rabin was best known for being a general and a politician, Feinstein said.

One of his most significant decisions was to sign the Declaration of Principles in 1993, which was a statement promoting peace between Arabs and Israelis, Feinstein said.

Ben Abrams, economics sophomore and an organizer of the event, said it is important to remember who Rabin was.

“A lot of people have forgotten about him,” Abrams said.

Rabin was a leader who was willing to trade Israeli land for peace, said Benjie Davis, a staff member for Hillel, the Jewish student center at the University.

“He was a courageous man,” Davis said.

He said the memorial was important because the message was one of peace.

“I think everybody can relate to the need of peace in troubled times,” Davis said.

Abrams said it’s important not to lose sight of Rabin and the peace that he believed in and strived for.

Feinstein said the memorial service was important for students who are interested in the peace process in the Middle East.

“It shows the peace process is a very difficult one,” Feinstein said.

The memorial service started with a biographical introduction about Rabin and a moment of silence.

During the memorial, the “Shir LaShalom,” which means the “Song of Peace,” was sung. This is the same song Rabin sang at the last peace rally he participated in.

After Rabin sang the song, he put the lyric sheet in his breast pocket. As he was leaving the rally, he was shot in the back by a Jewish extremist. The bullet traveled through Rabin’s heart and his blood soaked the “Song of Peace” lyrics.

After more biographical information, the Mourner’s Kaddish, a mourning prayer, was recited while facing east toward Jerusalem.

Daniel Moshe, a managing information system junior, held a sign of peace at the memorial.

Rabin’s ideals are living on and must continue to do so, Moshe said.

Part of Judaism is to never forget, he said.