Hillel honors the memory of Yitzhak Rabin, soldier, political leader, peacemaker. A Nobel Peace Prize winner responsible for opening a dialogue with the Palestinians, Rabin was gunned down by a Jewish extremist upon leaving a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995. His murder shocked and saddened the world.
Hillels are encouraged to mark the anniversary of Rabin's death through appropriate programs. Program ideas and educational materials may be found at the Jewish Agency for Israel's Web site.
The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Rabin grew up in an ardently labor-Zionist home, and after completing high school he joined the Palmach, the elite strike force of the Haganah underground defense organization. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, he began a 26-year career with the Israel Defense Forces and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General.
After serving as the Israeli ambassador to the United States for five years, Rabin was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Labor party in 1973 and became the minister of labor the following year. He became prime minister just three months later, and he led the nation for three years, during which time he concluded the Interim Agreement with Egypt, which gave control of the Suez Canal to Egypt, and signed the first Memorandum of Understanding with the United States, ensuring American support for Israeli interests and renewing American aid.
Rabin remained a member of the Knesset for the next two decades, serving as minister of defense from 1984 to 1990. In 1992, he began his second term as prime minister, which was marked by two historic events -- the Oslo Agreements with the Palestinians and the Treaty of Peace with Jordan. He shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Rabin was 73 years old at the time of his death. He was mourned by his wife, Leah, children, grandchildren and countless Israelis and supporters worldwide.