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otherpersons Rabin Yitzhak Rabin (, 1 March 19224 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.

Biography

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 helped to support his family from a young age. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the United States, where he joined the Poalei Zion (Workers of Zion) Party and changed his surname to Rabin. In 1917 he went to Palestine with Hagdud Haivri (Jewish Legion) volunteers, determined to settle in Israel. Yitzhak Rabin's mother, Rosa Cohen, was born in 1890 in Mohilev in Belarus. Her father, a rabbi, opposed the Zionist movement, but sent Rosa to a Christian high school for girls in Homel, enabling her to acquire a broad general education. From a young age, 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 Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), she moved to Jerusalem.
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. However, apart from several courses in military strategy in the United Kingdom later on, he never pursued a degree.
Rabin married in 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence. Leah was working at the time as a reporter for a Palmach newspaper. They had two children, Dahlia and Yuval. After Rabin's assassination, Dahlia Rabin-Pelossof went into politics. In 2001, she was Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense.

Military career

Palmach

In 1941, during his practical training at Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan, Rabin joined the Palmach section of the Haganah, and rose to the position of Chief Operations Officer in October 1947. He was involved in the Altalena Affair, which he actively took part and lead the altercation. He was later condemned by many right-wing Israeli political figures.

IDF service

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Rabin directed Israeli operations in Jerusalem and fought the Egyptian army in the Negev. In 1949, he helped draft an armistice agreement with the Arab countries that was signed on the island of Rhodes. 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 Rabin suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to function. 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 Minister of Labour.

First term as Prime Minister

On June 2 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 the Prime Minister's 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.

Opposition MK and Minister of Defense

Following his resignation, 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 riots, even threatening to "break the bones" of the rioters. Later, Rabin's attitude softened and he became convinced that the only way to end the violence was though negotiation and dialogue.
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.

Second term as Prime Minister

In 1992 Rabin was elected as chairman of the Israeli Labor Party. In the elections that same 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 bloc in the Knesset 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 Labour led government in fifteen years, supported by a coalition of left wing parties and Shas, a Mizrahi orthodox religious party.
Rabin played a leading role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian 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, September 9, 1993, Rabin sent Arafat a letter officially recognizing the PLO on (See: Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition.) During this term of office, Rabin also oversaw the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (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. 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 Arab-Israeli 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."

Assassination and aftermath

On November 4, 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.
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 U.S. 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" meaning "Goodbye, Friend."
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 Malchei Yisrael (Kings of Israel Square), was renamed Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square). Streets and public institutions have been named for 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. 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.

Commemoration

In 1995, the Israeli Postal Authority issued a commemorative Rabin stamp. 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.

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

References

External links

Rabin in Arabic: إسحق رابين
Rabin in Asturian: Isaac Rabin
Rabin in Bosnian: Jitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Bulgarian: Ицхак Рабин
Rabin in Catalan: Isaac Rabin
Rabin in Czech: Jicchak Rabin
Rabin in Danish: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in German: Jitzchak Rabin
Rabin in Estonian: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Spanish: Isaac Rabin
Rabin in Esperanto: Jicĥak Rabin
Rabin in Basque: Isaak Rabin
Rabin in Persian: اسحاق رابین
Rabin in French: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Galician: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Croatian: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Ido: Ichak Rabin
Rabin in Indonesian: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Ossetian: Рабин, Ицхак
Rabin in Icelandic: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Italian: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Hebrew: יצחק רבין
Rabin in Kurdish: Îzhak Rabîn
Rabin in Lithuanian: Ichakas Rabinas
Rabin in Marathi: यित्झाक राबिन
Rabin in Malay (macrolanguage): Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Dutch: Yitzchak Rabin
Rabin in Japanese: イツハク・ラビン
Rabin in Norwegian: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Polish: Icchak Rabin
Rabin in Portuguese: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Romanian: Itzhak Rabin
Rabin in Russian: Рабин, Ицхак
Rabin in Simple English: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Slovak: Jicchak Rabin
Rabin in Slovenian: Jicak Rabin
Rabin in Serbian: Јицак Рабин
Rabin in Finnish: Jitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Swedish: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Tagalog: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Vietnamese: Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin in Turkish: İzak Rabin
Rabin in Yiddish: יצחק רבין
Rabin in Chinese: 伊扎克·拉宾
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