This week Israel commemorated the assassination of Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Eighteen years have passed since that awful day, yet most Israelis remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news of the Prime Minister's assassination. I would like to share with you my personal memories from the evening of November 4, 1995.
It was a Saturday night; I was a young soldier living in Tel Aviv. Like every Saturday before this one, I returned to the military base after a weekend at home, and met up with some friends to play basketball. We had of course heard about the big demonstration that was taking place at the "King of Israel" square - but that was not as appealing to us as our weekly gathering with friends for basketball. After our game, I vividly remember there being a presence of a total silence in the streets. In a pre-cellphones era, this was a sure sign that something major had just happened. We instantly knew that something was wrong. We ran to listen to the radio and heard that the Prime Minister had been shot. We immediately ran to the square where we heard that Yitzhak Rabin had died.
I have strong memories from that day - the confusion, the feelings of loss and anger, the many ensuing talks we had in the army. I remember the thousands who came to the funeral and the moving speech of Rabin's granddaughter Noa.
I remember the difficult feeling of deep shame and how I repeatedly questioned – had we done everything we could to prevent this horrible act? I recall promises the that each one of us made - to be better people, more tolerant, more pleasant towards the other, and to do everything in our power to ensure that something like this will never happen again.