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I moved from dank, dark North Manchester, U.K. to Karmiel, Western Galilee, Israel in March 2010. It is, believe me, one of the sunniest, loveliest towns on earth. With a background in local Jewish journalism I continue to write freelance. I manage several blogs, have  appeared on Technorati and Blogcritics and now contribute to the online magazine, 'Live Encounters'. My main blog is Alwayswriteagain (http://wwwalwayswriteagain.blogspot.com

Thursday, 21 October 2010

My Neighbourhood Named For Yitzhak Rabin

The original name for my neighbourhood in Ramat.Rabin.01Karmiel was a very flowery

" רמת טללים" - 'Dewy Heights'. 

Ramat.Rabin.02. It was changed to 'Ramat Rabin' after the assassination 15 years ago, of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. The Hebrew calendar date of his death - 12 Cheshvan 5756 -  was marked earlier this week while the secular  anniversary is 04 November.

 

Itzhak RabinRabin's official portrait will feature on the home pages of the entire 'Perfectlywrite' series, up to and including the secular anniversary of his passing.

Meanwhile, our elegant,  modern neighbourhood began life in 1998 with a target population of 10,000. Twelve years on, it has become one of the most sought-after areas in this beautiful north Galilean city and building, much of it clad in imitation of traditional 'oolite' ('Jerusalem stone'), continues even as I write.

At the official memorial ceremony for Rabin held at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem earlier this week, President Shimon Peres - once Rabin's co-Prime Minister - called for differences to be solved democratically.Y.Rabin

He also eulogised the assassinated Nobel Peace Prize laureate, commemorating his contribution to the nation and the untimely nature of his death.

"We will not forget that you were murdered. You were murdered by an evil man who planned to kill the nation's spirit," Peres said, addressing Rabin.

"Your legacy, Yitzhak, was the contribution of a statesman truly leading  a nation: not to look back in rage, but forward with faith. You earned the faith of a nation".


Y.Rabin.03On Tuesday night, several thousand youngsters gathered at Tel Aviv’s Kikar Rabin to take part in a memorial ceremony organized by the Israel Scouts to mark the 15th anniversary of the assassination.

Speaking at his official residence (Beit Hanassi), Peres lit a memorial candle at a ceremony known as Ner Yitzhak ('Light of Yitzhak'), commenting that it was a candle dedicated to peace, to a promise whose flame would never be extinguished.

Yitzhak Rabin Fact File:

Y.Rabin.02  Yitzhak Rabin (1922- 1995) was an Israeli politician and general and the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–1977 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and PLO leader,Yasser Arafat.

On November 4, 1995 Rabin was shot to death by a Jewish assassin, at the end of a mass demonstration in Kikar Malchei Yisrael in Tel Aviv in support of the peace process.

There will be those reading this piece who refuse - all differences considered - to be 'dewy eyed' about Israel's heroes - indeed those of any state.

They will say, quite understandably, that Rabin was as much a man of war as peace and that at the time of the first Palestinian Intifada, he threatened to quell the unrest with 'force, beatings and might' or as another story has it: "We will break their bones."

However, his wife, Leah Rabin, insisted in her memoir, Rabin - Our Life, His Legacy that he never said it. Other versions claim that Rabin made the statement in order to encourage soldiers to refrain from shooting at stone-throwing Palestinians.

But whatever happened during the 1980s, by the time of his assassination, Rabin had all the  hallmarks of a man of peace. Since his death, it may be argued that, as is common in such circumstances, an almost unhealthy aura of sanctity has developed around his memory. But the week of his yahrzeit (Hebrew memorial) may not be the time to investigate.

 

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