Approximately 100,000 people came to remember Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his assassination that featured speeches by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
On the night of October 31 at the plaza that shares Rabin’s name, Clinton praised Rabin’s willingness to take risks for the sake of peace and urged the crowd to finish Rabin’s work. Clinton oversaw Israeli-Palestinian negotiations when Rabin was prime minister that led to the Oslo Accords in 1993.
“The next step will be determined by whether you decide that Yitzhak Rabin was right,” Clinton said. “That you have to share the future with your neighbors. That you have to stand for peace. That the risks of peace are not as severe as the risks of walking away from it.”
Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995 after a pro-peace rally at that same plaza in central Tel Aviv. Rabin’s assassin, Jewish extremist Yigal Amir, was against Rabin’s goal of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In a video message, Obama said that Rabin was a leader who “understood the dangers Israel faces, but he also said the Palestinians are not to be ruled over forever by force.”
“Yitzhak speaks to us still,” Obama said. “Let us demonstrate that we oppose violence and extremism of any kind, and let us exhaust every opening for the peace we know is just and possible.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis to fix their internal social rifts.
“Israel’s democracy has not ceased to realize its strength and resilience,” he said at the rally.