At Rabin memorial, Peres laments ‘gaping void’ for Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yitzhak Rabin “knew the path of peace was the hardest of all,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said at a memorial marking 18 years since the assassination of the prime minister.

Peres held the memorial, including the lighting of “Yitzhak’s Candle,” on Tuesday at the president’s residence in Jerusalem. Among those on hand were the Rabin family, leading figures from Israeli public life and schoolchildren from the school named in honor of Rabin in Kfar Tavor, in Israel’s North.

“Three bullets from a Jewish murderer created a gaping void in the heart of the nation,” said Peres, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the 1993 Oslo Accords. “The heart bled but spirit remained strong. My heart broke on the night of the murder; I feel as though Yitzhak was murdered yesterday. I miss him and we have all missed him from that day to this one, every single day.

“The murderer will never be forgiven, he will never be pardoned,” the president added, referring to the assassin, Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence.

Peres said Rabin was working to make a peace deal “based upon territorial compromise but under no circumstances moral compromise. To compromise on territory, but not on the Jewish and humanitarian nature of the State of Israel.”

Rabin’s son Yuval spoke on behalf of the family.

“Whoever called Rabin a traitor and a murderer will never be satisfied,” he said. “No more can we say we did not hear, we did not know, we did not believe.”

Yuval Rabin called for “an Israeli response to the Arab peace initiatives and to promote the talks under this framework with the Palestinians.”

On Saturday night, some 35,000 Israelis gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv
to mark the anniversary of his death under the banner “Remembering the murder, fighting for democracy.”

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