Israelis visit a memorial site for late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv
Israelis visit a memorial site for late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv in 2010. An estimated 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to mark the 17th anniversary of former premier Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, under the banner "Remembering the murder: fighting for democracy." © Jack Guez - AFP/File
Israelis visit a memorial site for late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv
AFP
Last updated: October 27, 2012

Thousands in Israel mark 17 years since Rabin murder

An estimated 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to mark the 17th anniversary of former premier Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, under the banner "Remembering the murder: fighting for democracy."

State-owned Channel 1 TV showed participants with placards bearing Rabin's image and the slogan "Nobody will be allowed to raise their hand against democracy."

With a general election set for January, organisers did not invite politicians to speak at the event, with this year's spotlight on youth movements, including for the first time the religious-nationalist Bnei Akiva, Rabin's ideological opponents.

"I think it is right that they should come," said former education minister Yuli Tamir, one of the evening's invited speakers and a veteran of Rabin's Labour party, but not a candidate in the coming polls.

"I think that we need to say that there are differences of opinion between us and that we can share the same stage but not the same opinion," she said in an interview with Israeli public radio.

"Seventeen years ago a prime minister was murdered, the prime minister of us all," Bnei Akiva Secretary General Danny Hirschberg told Channel 1.

"We are here tonight to tell all the youth, ours and others, that we want to map out the borders of democracy and talk about how we want to live in this country of ours."

Channel 1 said that around 30,000 people gathered in the square, where Rabin was gunned down by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir, who opposed his concessions to the Palestinians, as the premier left a peace rally on November 4, 1995.

According to the Hebrew calendar the anniversary this year falls on Sunday, when a state memorial ceremony will be held at his Jerusalem grave.

The general-turned-peacemaker inspired both admiration and hatred for signing the 1993 peace accord, and in 1994 shared the Nobel peace prize with President Shimon Peres and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

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