Over 200 people gathered at Beth Weizmann Community Centre this Sunday evening to remember the life and legacy of Yitzhak Rabin z”l who was assassinated 4 November 1995, twenty years ago. The date of the event coincided with Mr Rabin’s yahrzeit, 12 Cheshvan.
The commemoration was coordinated by a working group from Zionism Victoria, AUJS, HaBayit, Jewish Agency Shlichim, UIA, Zionist Federation of Australia and the Zionist Youth Council of Victoria and included videos about Yitzhak Rabin’s life and the aftermath of his assassination, and beautiful musical interludes by Nissim Ben-Salamon, Dalia Gurfinkel, Audrey Fine and Danielle Kiriati and by the Koleinu Singers.
On behalf of the Jewish Agency Shlichim (emissaries), delegation head Rinat Kedem Bart shared her thoughts about the impact Rabin’s murder had on her as a 14 year old teenager. “I remember watching the news with my father and weeping”, she said. “I remember my shock to watch my strong loved father, so devastated, so broken”. Like many others her age, she found some solace in gathering with the crowds and lighting candles outside Rabin’s residence. Kedem Bart shared a poem she had written and left among the many other poems and letters that had been placed at the makeshift memorial. “The three bullets that were directly aimed at him, hit one by one in our hearts, when we realised we lost a father, Av”.
Rabin’s assassination was the catalyst that shaped Kedem Bart’s life path – one in which she has dedicated to “educating and fighting for Israel to be a more equal, just and peaceful society”. Likewise, Zionist youth leaders of today, most of whom were infants at the time of Rabin’s death, connect with Rabin as a leader and as an example. Representatives of Melbourne’s seven Zionist youth movements spoke about the impact of Rabin’s legacy on their movement. “This is about taking little steps to pursue peace and democracy all over the world and especially in Israel”, said Shira Appelboom, Federal Mazkira of Netzer. “If we can act together, despite our differences, then perhaps we can bring about the magic of peace”.
Zionism Victoria Vice President Sharene Hambur noted that the gathering was particularly poignant at this time of increased violence in Israel. “Tonight as we gather to remember the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, we also remember those who have lost their lives in the latest attacks against the civilian population of Israel and those who are seeking to defend them”, she said. “We are here tonight in solidarity with them and we continue to pray for the strength of Israel and for her people and will continue to tell her story proudly and loudly. May the memory of Yitzhak Rabin remind us of the promise of peace as we continue to pray for its reality”.
The evening concluded with a moving session of Shira B’Tsibur (singing together) led by Nissim, Dalia, Audrey and Danielle.