JERUSALEM (JTA) — An estimated 85,000 rallied in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to mark the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The rally Saturday night was controversial for stressing national unity over peace. The rally, organized by two centrist organizations: the Darkenu movement and Commanders for Israel’s Security, was held under the slogan “We are one people,” and did not include national politicians on its list of speakers.
Banners and flags of the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties flew throughout the crowd, as did the banners of the anti-settlement group Peace Now and the Palestinian human rights group B’Tselem.
Oded Revivi, mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, was booed by the some in the crowd before he started to speak. Several lawmakers from right-wing parties attended the rally, apparently for the first time.
Former IDF General Amnon Reshef, the head of Commanders for Israel’s security, in his speech at the rally called for “separation” from the Palestinians into two states in order to keep Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot to death by Yigal Amir, an Orthodox Jew and right-wing extremist, on Nov. 4, 1995, as he left a peace rally in Tel Aviv. The annual rally is held in the Tel Aviv square where he was shot, which has been renamed after the late prime minister.
Rally organizers were criticized for neglecting to call Rabin’s death a murder or mention peace in promotional materials.