[Rabin Memorial Section http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Compelling+Content/Eye+on+Israel/Current+Issues/Rabin ]

Outline Activities and Perspectives

It is now seven years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin z"l; the significance of seven years, both in Jewish terms and in terms of the perspective afforded by the lapse of time since it happened.

The educational ideas presented below add a new and sharper focus and activity framework to those presented, from the position of the educator and the participants.

1. Points to Ponder 2. Questions from Previous Units
3. Creating Educational Context - An Annotated Timeline 4. Rabin the Figure - Reality and Symbol in Biography & Memorial
5. Democracy: Peace and Non-Violence in Society and the World 6. The Peace Process - Founded or Floundered? - Analysis
7. Best Links - English [2002]  


1. Points to Ponder

As educators work towards a Memorial Day, these were the shortlisted questions we felt should be asked as part of a survey for the preparation - among staff, participants and members of the wider community. [The activity ideas, resources and links below are designed to assist you with any of them]:


  • What do you feel are the most important issue(s) raised by the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin?
  • What do you feel should be the significance and emphasis of the Memorial Day for Yitzhak Rabin z"l?
  • Has the significance of the assassination and memorial changed over time - if so, how?
  • Universal identification with Democracy and non-violence. Has the Rabin assassination not only killed a leader and symbol of democracy, but also attacked political leadership and/or shaken the foundations of Israeli democracy?
  • Does political assassination change the course of history, the course of government? Israel has had 7 "lean" years and parallels have been drawn with the Gedaliahu ben Ahikam assassination (after the First Exile 586 BCE). - were they inevitable (What if…)?

2. Questions from Previous Units

A. Learning about the Assassination and its implications:


  • What has Israel and what have Israelis learned from this traumatic and bitter experience of assassination?
  • What values and messages should be highlighted in Memorial - and which dilemmas?
  • How has Israeli society changed, if at all?
  • How has the assassination changed the course of life, of nation, of peace?

No less important:
B. When creating a ceremony:


  • How can this day's importance be addressed in schools and communities outside Israel
  • where the link is less immediate and where many children were not old enough to be conscious of the assassination and its significance in 1995?

3. Creating Educational Context - An Annotated Timeline

It is important to trace with older groups what has been impacting on Israel and Jewish communities since the Rabin assassination, in order to address the focus questions:
These have been years fraught with difficulties and they can be traced in a timeline, or table, with notes alongside:

  1. Political changes in Israel - elections, coalitions, government;
  2. Leadership problems - party leaders, national leaders;
  3. Unresolved social fragility and dissent, which have polarised on many issues;
  4. Steps forward and stumbling blocks along the road to peace, false starts, disappointments, regression and deterioration
  5. The near total breakdown of negotiations with the PA;
  6. The second Intifada, now entering its third, horrific year of violence, terror and response - the record, the impact on Israeli society, the deterioration in the PA, the feeling on the street in Israel and the PA;
  7. The death of Leah Rabin in 2000;
  8. Israel's incursion into the PA to seek out terrorist cells, arms, documents;
  9. The anti-Israel agenda of the UN, the Security Council;
  10. Antisemitism and anti-Israel in the media, politics and the street - especially in Europe;
  11. America under Terror and in coalition against terror and terror regimes;



4. Rabin the Figure - Reality and Symbol in Biography & Memorial

Time, shock, sentiment, politics and events have already changed the way Israel and the world remember Yitzhak Rabin. This can be the basis for a written assignment - poems, essays; a photo exhibition; a Memorial Ceremony.

Before addressing the specific questions, it is important to explore the affective and the historical aspects of his life, to trace these changes, and ask how participants wish to remember him - and with what messages, in terms of which values.
[See also biography
and activity from the 1998 Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Series .]

Yitzhak Rabin was primarily a military figure, turned politician, a national leader with "a sense of responsibility for the state" (Yehuda Harel, 2000), who had the capacity to lead a major Peace Process, the Oslo Accords. He took major risks in so doing, as any leader must; he knew that the moment of decision had come and might not return - but that it would not be overwhelmingly popular in Israel or the Arab world.

Rabin was subject to broad-based criticism for concessions in negotiations and how he dealt with the ongoing terror, but it was the socio-political rift in Israeli society and the fomentation of this hostile atmosphere within marginal groups which brought about the horror of political assassination in Israel by a young member of the peripheral right-wing.


5. Democracy: Peace and Non-Violence in Society and the World

From childhood, we educate children to behave with consideration, refrain from acts of aggression in dispute, resolve differences in peaceful ways, make peace with each other. This is part of our socialization ethic, the basis of subsequent education courses in civics and democracy.

In civics courses, we teach the values of democratic, due election processes; how they are the foundation of our society and government, to be protected and defended, to prevent anarchy or totalitarianism and despotism.

Children can and should also be able to identify how these principles work in the adult world around them - and use this perspective to understand the significance of Israel's the hopes for Peace, on the one hand, and the heinous crime of assassination, on the other.

In Jewish Studies, it is appropriate to support these events and build a process of resolution with quotations from the Bible and Talmud about Peace, peaceful ways and appropriate inter-personal behavior, the Ten Commandments. [Biblical sources, Liturgy …]

To add relevance and underscore the personal integration of these messages, the educator should connect the abstract level and the "big items" with real-life situations - identifying mundane, but important events such as: how best to handle and react in arguments, how to address bullying and other undesirable phenomena.


  1. For thoughtful debate: How to protect democracy in the contemporary world and in Israel.
  2. For younger children, there are some examples of Peacemaking in visual and graphic art exercises;
  3. For high school, try a "Hall of Fame" activity - historical/contemporary Jewish and general figures who are perceived as Peacemakers and warmakers;
  4. For senior high and students, please look at "Lessons from the Past" [simulation] and discuss whether Israeli society has indeed begun to heal the social rifts leading to the assassination. 


6. The Peace Process - Founded or Floundered? - Analysis

The Peace Process symbolized Israel's hope for a better political and economic future, and a better personal and national future - especially for young people who serve in the Israeli Army (IDF) and on reserve duty until age 45 or 50.


  • How do participants think it impacted on the sense of identity of young Israelis?
  • What did it symbolize for the participants?
  • Was it realistic in the circumstances?
  • If not, what factors were lacking on both sides?

Hint: It was controversial, the documents were not waterproof, but it was launched successfully [ Dilemmas activity: http://www.jafi-ed.org.il/actual/wye/9.html ].
Trace the map connection:

At the time of the Rabin assassination, there was already disenchantment with the Peace Process in Israel - both in terms of concessions and the ongoing waves of terror attacks:


  • In what way did the assassination impact on the Peace Process?
  • Why is Rabin's personality perceived as such a central factor to its progress?
  • When did the Peace Process founder - or was there a succession of events?
  • What are the hopes and realities of Peace for Israel today?

7. Best Links - English








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      27 Sep 2005 / 23 Elul 5765 0