Today, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (JCFR) and its Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) pause to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin, a professional soldier turned statesman, was killed by a Jewish terrorist on November 4, 1995, after attending a massive peace rally in Tel Aviv.
Rabin was assassinated due to his murderer’s opposition to the Oslo Peace Accord. Rabin was advancing that Accord which sought peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet Rabin’s murder sent still deeper shockwaves through the Israeli and Jewish peoples because it exposed the power of incitement and hatred in our society.
In the 20 years that have passed since Rabin’s murder still more Israelis have been murdered in terrorist attacks. Israel has further entrenched its population in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Israel has withdrawn every Jewish settlement from within the Gaza Strip. Neither the building of settlements nor their withdrawal have brought peace or quiet. Since 1995, Israel suffered the Second Intifada (2000-2005), fought in the Second Lebanon War (2006), and endured multiple, major operations to halt terrorist rocket fire and attacks against civilians from within Gaza (2006, 2008-2009, 2012, 2014).
Sadly, the violence persists, even today. Last month alone, there were 48 stabbings, five car rammings, five shootings perpetrated against Israelis. 11 Israelis were murdered and 132 Israelis were wounded by Palestinian terrorists. Yet unlike terror waves of the past, these attacks seem to been uncoordinated. The attacks are largely carried out by lone-wolf young adults (men and women) acting out extreme frustration lethally combined with vitriolic incitement on the part of nearly every Palestinian national leader. That Jewish, Israeli terror arose to the point where it took Rabin’s life shook us to the core and underscored that hatred and incitement to violence are never acceptable.
We support Israel. We stand with our Israeli brothers and sisters in the face of wholly inexcusable terror. Today, we redouble our commitment to an equitable solution to end the violence. We recommit to a two-state solution that leaves Israel the democratic nation-state of the Jewish People in our historic homeland and that provides self-determination for the Palestinians in a State of their own. Indeed, this was the legacy and the vision for which Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, gave his life.
May his memory inspire loving-kindness. May his memory inspire peace. May his memory be a blessing.