What if Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had not been gunned down at a Tel Aviv peace rally by a Jewish extremist on that fateful night ~ November 4, 1995? What if Israel’s successive leaders had had the courage to risk peace? What if …
Last night, in the Tel Aviv square that bears Rabin’s name, 100,000 people gathered to remember the 20th anniversary of his assassination ~ against the backdrop of this wave of horrific violence and bloodshed during the past month ~ violence that has been committed by both sides ~ still they gathered. They gathered to remember and to honour the army general turned peacemaker ~ “It is no longer inevitable that we be a people who dwell alone, nor is it true that the whole world is against us. We need to break out of the sense of isolation which held us in its grip for almost fifty years. We must come aboard the great journey towards peace, reconciliation and international cooperation. If we don’t, we will remain alone in an empty station.” (Yitzhak Rabin ~ July 13, 1992)
Chairwoman Zehava Galon of the Meretz political party said at the rally: “Rabin was murdered because he proposed a political vision for the State of Israel. He was murdered because of the politician that he was ~ a politician who wanted to end the occupation and make peace with the Palestinians … We do not agree and we’ll never agree to ever acquiesce to the only future Netanyahu is offering us ~ of living forever by the sword.”
Former President Bill Clinton issued an emotionally charged challenge to the applause of those gathered: “The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Rabin was right ~ that you have to share the future with your neighbours ~ that you have to give their children a chance too ~ that you have to stand for peace ~ that the risks for peace are not as severe as the risk of walking away from it. We are praying that you will make the right decision.”
Some 2,000 years ago, a Jewish teacher in Palestine is said to have wept over Jerusalem ~ Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes ~ Isn’t it time to remove the blinders? ~ What if someone would arise who would risk the road not taken? ~ It could make all the difference!