Israel marked the 12th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.
Israeli leaders gathered Wednesday at the slain prime minister’s grave in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery for a memorial service clouded by continued public divisions over peace talks with the Palestinians. Wednesday was the anniversary of Rabin’s death on the Hebrew calendar.
Rabin was gunned down at a 1995 peace rally by Yigal Amir, a right-wing zealot opposed to planned territorial handovers. Recent opinion polls suggest that many Israelis want clemency for the jailed Amir.
“I must admit, candidly, that I am not at all convinced we have properly learned the lesson” of the assassination, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a speech.
Olmert, who will attend a U.S.-sponsored conference next month on Palestinian statehood, has come under right-wing invective similar to that piled on Rabin.
But President Shimon Peres, who was Rabin’s partner in putting together interim accords with the Palestinians, said Israel would not be thrown off the path to peace.
“What appeared to have been cut off 12 years ago has been renewed,” Peres said.