The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4th, 1995 remains one of the most difficult moments in Israeli history and in modern Jewish history. Join Noam Weissman as he dives into Rabin’s life and legacy and unpacks how the assassination, and its aftermath, continues to affect Israeli society.

  • Review
  • Discussion
  • Activities
  • Reflection
  • Further Learning
  1. True or false? Yitzhak Rabin was the first Israeli prime minister to be born in the country.
  2. Rabin began his military career in which pre-state Zionist militia?
    • Palmach
    • Lechi
    • Hagana
    • Irgun
  3. Rabin was prime minister of Israel during which of the following events?
    • The First Lebanon War
    • The Yom Kippur War
    • The Six-Day War
    • Operation Entebbe
  4. Why did Rabin resign as prime minister during his first tenure?
  5. Rabin was assassinated after a peace rally by:
    • A Jew
    • An Arab
    • A Bedouin
    • A Druze
  1. The entire country, as well as Jews around the world, were shaken to the core when Rabin was assassinated by a fellow Jew. Why did the fact that he was killed by another Jew cause a deeper tremor than his assassination otherwise might have?
  2. Watch this video of fans from Beitar Yerushalayim chanting Yigal Amir’s name during a soccer match. Journal your immediate reaction. How do you internalize it? Do you view this as a group of hooligans who should be dismissed? Does this represent a larger group within Israel who disdain Rabin for his attempt to make peace with the Palestinians?
  3. It is said about Rabin that he was “A leftist, a hawk, a centrist. A reminder that violence is bad, that democracy is important, and that we should all just get along. Maybe this diluted, compromised, one-size-fits-all version of Rabin’s legacy is all we as a society can handle at the moment.” Rabin was a complex man of paradoxes; to call him only a military hawk or a political dove would do him an injustice. How can a person carry all of these values at once? Are there conflicting values that you hold dear?
  4. Rachel Rabin, Yitzhak Rabin’s sister, said about him: “Somehow Yitzhak always felt that he was responsible for me. That he needed to take care of me. To protect me. And that’s how I felt. Till his last day, really, I felt he was protecting me, even from afar.” Yitzhak Rabin wore many hats. He was a father, a brother, a husband, a soldier, a politician. How do you want to be remembered?
  5. If you could ask Yitzhak Rabin one question about either his life or Israel now, what would it be?
  6. Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassinator, was a product of the Religious Zionist community in Israel. One of its leaders, R. Aharon Lichtenstein, stated the following after Rabin’s assassination:

Naturally, this shame should be felt by our camp, the National Religious camp, more than any other. Here was a man who grew up in the best of our institutions. A day before the murder, he could have been cited as a shining example of success and achievement, and a source of communal pride. Coming from a ‘deprived’ background, he studied in a Yeshiva High School, attended a great Yeshivat Hesder, and was accepted to the most prestigious division of Bar-Ilan University. Today, we hide behind the phrases, ‘a wild weed,’ ‘from the outskirts of our society.’ But if a day before the murder we would have said proudly, ‘See what we have produced,’ we must say it now as well – ‘See what we have produced!’ It is indefensible that one who is willing to take credit when the sun is shining should shrug off responsibility when it begins to rain.

Do you agree with R. Lichtenstein’s sentiments or do you think Amir was in fact a “wild weed”? Explain.

  1. Play our Yitzhak Rabin Kahoot!
  2. Lead a podcast listening party. Download our PDF Guide.

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