|Remembering Yitzhak Rabin as Intolerance and Violence Grow|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
More than 150 people packed into the Yitzhak Rabin synagogue in Rehovot last week to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the assassination of the Prime Minister. The annual memorial ceremony in the country's only Orthodox synagogue named for Rabin was organized by NIF grantee 12 Heshvan: Promoting Tolerance in an Orthodox Context.
Omer Levi taught from the Mishna that sins between people are not forgiven by God until people forgive each other.
The event was attended by many notables across Israel's political spectrum including Minister for Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai, MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home), Rehovot Mayor Rahamim Malul and Rehovot Chief Rabbi Simcha Kook.
"The notables all made their speeches," recalls Sherman Rosenfeld, a 12 Heshvan (the Hebrew date of Rabin's assassination) activist and veteran at the Yitzhak Rabin Synagogue, "But what really touched me was the speeches by members of the different youth groups who spoke so eloquently about the need for tolerance and to work against violence."
He added, "Remembering Rabin becomes more important as each year passes. It is more important because many of the young people who spoke at the ceremony were babies or not even alive when Rabin was murdered. We must remind them about Rabin's strength and commitment to defending Israel, striving for peace and protecting democracy."
Rosenfeld also stressed that remembering Rabin this year took on a new significance in light of the spate of anti-democratic legislation being introduced in the Knesset as well as the "price tag" terror attacks directed at Arabs in Israel and the West Bank. Chillingly, the memorial to Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv on the spot where he was murdered was daubed with "price tag" terror graffiti several weeks ago. And graffiti scrawled at the home of Peace Now Settlement Watch director Hagit Ofran threatened: “Rabin is waiting for you.”
Rosenfeld, who sits on the board of directors of the NIF-supported coalition Banish the Darkness, which fights religious racism, was a member of the solidarity delegation which visited the burned-out mosque in the Galilee village of Tuba Zangaria last month following the "price tag" terror arson there.
He said, "There is a direct connection of violence and intolerance between the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and the burned books I saw in the Galilee mosque."