Today found us in Tel Aviv where we visited The Yitzhak Rabin Center, a museum that commemorates the life of the assassinated prime minister of Israel. Rabin was killed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew upset over Rabin's efforts to forge a peace with the Palestinians. There have been no major movements towards peace in the twenty years since Rabin's death. Still, his life offers us hope. He was a military leader who came to understand that diplomacy could be a powerful weapon in protecting Israel and in giving the Palestinian people their own state and the human rights all deserve.
I still recall the peace rally where Rabin was shot and stayed up in the middle of the night to watch the memorial proceedings. Rabin has long been a hero of mine. President Clinton, then in office, came to deliver the eulogy. He said then:
Your prime minister was a martyr for peace, but he was a victim of hate. Surely, we must learn from his martyrdom that if people cannot let go of the hatred of their enemies, they risk sowing the seeds of hatred among themselves. I ask you, the people of Israel, on behalf of my nation that knows its own long litany of loss, from Abraham Lincoln to President Kennedy to Martin Luther King, do not let that happen to you. In the Knesset, in your homes, in your places of worship, stay the righteous course. As Moses said to the children of Israel when he knew he would not cross over into the promised land, "Be strong and of good courage. Fear not, for God will go with you. He will not fail you, He will not forsake you."
Ultimately, Israel turned away from Rabin's policies, during a time of increased terror attacks carried out by radical Palestinians as determined as the Jew who killed Rabin to derail the peace process, and the age of Benjamin Netanyahu was born.