Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

A student of IGY writes from the 19th memorial event for former Israeli prime minister Yizhak Rabin: “All were dreaming the same dream, of a renewed society that tolerates all of its components.”

Last week the 19th memorial of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder was held at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. We also attended, dressed in IGY’s red shirts, carrying the slogan “we are here and everywhere.” More and more teenagers arrived at the place wearing each their own youth organization shirt. A colorful crowd was created, of people with different opinions and faiths, different ways of life, but all had a single clear statement – yes to tolerance, to listening to the other, love of human beings for being human, and no to violence, hatred, incitement and lack of communication between various sections of society.

“Orna Banai spoke and said it right. When there is no correspondence between people with different opinions- fear of confrontation dissolves, but it also blocks any possibility of a better alternative,” says Ran Leabel, CEO of IGY. “Being gay, I once decided to go out against the hetero-normative society, trying to live my life true to myself, and to my sexual identity and gender. I understand there is no way to change the situation except by choosing to be present in full strength and not to be silent, certainly not to stand idly by.”

At the memorial personalities from all social and political spectra spoke, including President Reuven Rivlin, Rabbi Yona Goodman (educator and former secretary general of Bnei Akiva), Ali Zahalkha (bilingual school headmaster in Kafr Kara), Orna Banai and Rachel Frankel (mother of Naphtali Frankel Z”L, one of the three boys who were murdered last summer).

“We will not win the war against terrorism and lose the fight for our image,” president Rivlin said in his speech. “We are facing an ongoing war with outside enemies, but we must stop making enemies from within.”

Rachel Frankel said: “To this day many, including myself, do not identify with much of what is called the ‘Rabin legacy. ‘ But any person who is old enough remembers where he was when he heard about Rabin’s murder. I remember that we were in a place of terrible grief, broken and angry.”

“That night, somewhere at the edge of that demonstration, there were strange sounds that got to us back then and looking back, we have become more sensitive to them,” added Frankel. “If we hear sounds that cause the blood of someone, even on the lunatic fringe, then we should protest and educate, correct and love.”

“We who focus on our right to be liberated men and women, equal to the rest of society in which we live – it is our duty to stand against the dark forces of racism and violence in Israeli society, and make the connection between freedom of gender, of different sexual identity and diverse political stands,” said Ran Label.

There was a strong sense of unity at the memorial. 42,000 people, including 15,000 youth, listened to the various speeches and cheered every person who spoke about tolerance and acceptance. All were dreaming the same dream, of a renewed society that tolerates all of its components.

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