JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel is marking the 14th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Even as memorial services were held Thursday, the Hebrew date of the murder, at schools and institutions throughout the country, some right-wing activists called on students and citizens to shun the commemorations.
Memory tents were erected in sites across Israel and included an exhibit on the right-wing incitement against Rabin in the weeks leading up to his assassination, Ha’aretz reported.
The memorials began Wednesday evening, with a memorial ceremony held at the Israeli President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
"Fourteen years ago the banner that was waving in the square read ‘Yes to peace, no to violence.’ The years have passed and the Israeli society is still dealing with serious violence," the slain prime minister’s daughter, Dalia Rabin, said at Wednesday evening’s ceremony.
The annual state memorial was held Thursday afternoon at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem and is being followed by a special Knesset session to remember the slain prime minister. Right-wing lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union Party said Wednesday he would boycott the Knesset session.
Right-wing activists in Jerusalem handed out fliers calling on students to boycott the ceremonies. The fliers condemn the assassination, but decry "the memory and immortalization of Rabin’s legacy," Ha’aretz reported.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said of Rabin at Thursday’s state memorial, "Yitzhak was required to deal with two situations: Consolidating the nation with war and leading it, with divided opinions, onto a path of peace. In both situations, Yitzhak directed his gaze at the truth. He didn’t seek fake honor. He didn’t hide facts. He didn’t deceive and he didn’t collapse."
Meanwhile, President Obama sent a videotaped message to Israel to be aired Saturday night at the annual main memorial ceremony for Rabin in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. The message, requested by Dalia Rabin, will remind Israelis of the need to continue the peace process in memory of her slain father, Ha’aretz reported.