Menu JTA Search

Peace coalition launched at Rabin memorial ceremony

New York Jewish Week
NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (JTA) — It was shortly after 19-year-old Israeli soldier Arik Frankenthal was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists four years ago that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited with the victim’s father to express sympathy. Friends urged Yizchak Frankenthal, a religious Zionist, to abandon his pro-peace philosophy and to tell Rabin to do the same. His friends told him, “Do you finally understand, there is no one with whom to make peace,” Frankenthal recently told a hushed crowd at Congregation Bnai Jeshurun in New York. But the grieving father stood firm. “I told them if there was peace Arik wouldn’t have been murdered.” And he asked Rabin to continue to work for peace. Frankenthal was later invited to Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony where Rabin, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat were honored. Frankenthal was among several speakers, including Rabin’s widow, Leah, who remembered the slain prime minister at a recent ceremony titled “Rededicating Our Vision” — the first major public event of the new pro-peace coalition called Beit Shalom. Made up of 16 dovish groups including Americans for Peace Now, Beit Shalom plans to lobby the U.S. Congress and the American and Israeli governments to support the Oslo peace process and religious pluralism. “I cannot bring back Arik, but I can try to prevent other people from losing their children, their future,” said Frankenthal who founded Oz V’Shalom, a religious, pro-peace group in Israel.