Tomorrow night will mark the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin was a giant of Israeli politics who was involved in the military and governmental spheres of the nation for all of its life. He rose through the ranks as a young man, and was awarded his own brigade during the War of Independence in 1948 and given the task of breaking the siege around Jerusalem. He reached the height of his military career almost 20 years later, when he served as chief of staff during the Six-Day War, completing the liberation of Jerusalem for Israel. He should not be remembered, though, for his brilliance on the battlefield and undaunting courage in the face of danger. Yitzhak Rabin should be remembered for the final war he set out to fight -- the war for a peaceful arrangement of all parties living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. With his election as prime minister in 1992, he set out to change the face of the world. Having fought against the Arabs for the existence of a Jewish state, Rabin turned his attention to fighting with the Arabs for a peaceful tomorrow. Rabin's message is most important to recall now as we watch the most recent news reports depicting the violence in the Middle East, five years removed from his untimely death. The night of his assassination, Rabin spoke at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, in the huge square which now bears his name. Not five minutes after the rally concluded with the singing of "A Song For Peace," Yitzhak Rabin was fatally shot. Those three bullets represent all that Rabin did not want for this world. They were bullets that shattered a nation in much the same way that Lincoln's and Kennedy's assassinations shattered ours. They brought Israel out of her youthful innocence and did exactly what the right-wing extremist who pulled the trigger wanted -- derail the peace process. No one can know if the situation would be any different if Rabin had survived that night, but we can only hope that his influence will help bring both sides back to the negotiating table soon. Rabin fought his entire life for the State of Israel, and then decided that peace was more valuable than anything he had ever won in battle. That is the message we must acknowledge on the anniversary of his assassination, and the message we hope will somehow be communicated to both sides in the Middle East, who have fought for too long. Yitzhak Rabin is one of my personal heroes, a statesman and scholar, a general and peacemaker. Rabin was a loving father, husband and grandfather who wished to leave a better world for posterity. His patriotism is highly commendable, but it pales in relation to his passion for peace. This weekend, Rabin's death will be commemorated in a ceremony to remind us of his amazing life and his powerful legacy. It is a ceremony not meant for any specific group of people defined by race, creed or religion. It is a ceremony for those wishing for a peaceful tomorrow. The commemoration will take place at Wynn Commons at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 4. The organizers ask only that the ceremony be lacking in the polarization that this terrible conflict sometimes brings out in all who have an emotional interest in it. During the last few minutes of his life, Rabin sang into a microphone at the peace rally. Wary of his voice, he almost never sang in public. That night though, for some reason, he felt the message was too strong to ignore. The last words of the song he sang are, "Do not say, 'A day will come,' but bring about that day, because it is no longer a dream. And in all of the town squares, the cries will lift up for peace." May those words resonate in the ears of the leaders of the Middle East. Take time this weekend to remember, and may his memory be a blessing.Comments powered by Disqus
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