Yitzhak Rabin - A Short Biography
Yitzhak Rabin - IDF Chief of Staff, Ambassador of Israel to the United States, and the fifth Prime Minister of the State of Israel was born in Jeruslaem in 1922.
He distinguished himself as a military leader early on, during his seven years of service in the Palmach. Rising to the rank of Major-General at the age of 32, Rabin established the IDF training doctrine and the leadership style which became known by the command "follow me." In 1962 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
He developed the IDF fighting doctrine - based on movement and surprise - which was employed during the 1967 Six-Day War, when the achievement of air supremacy and massive deployment of armor led to the famous military victory.
Rabin was appointed Ambassador to the United States in 1968. During his five years in Washington, he strove to consolidate bilateral ties and played a major role in promoting "strategic cooperation" with the United States, which led to massive American military aid to Israel. Rabin returned to Israel in 1973, before the Yom Kippur War.
On June 2, 1974, Yitzhak Rabin formed his first government. The first native-born Prime Minister, Rabin displayed a leadership style which was candid, direct and at times unadorned to the point of bluntness. In 1975, Rabin concluded the Interim Agreement with Egypt, which led to Israeli withdrawal from the Suez Canal in return for free passage of Israeli shipping through the canal. As a result of this agreement, the first Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Israel and the United States, ensuring American support for Israeli interests in the international arena and renewed American aid.
In June 1992, Rabin began his second tenure as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. Rabin's second term as Prime Minister was marked by two historic events - the Oslo Agreements with the Palestinians and the Treaty of Peace with Jordan. Working closely with Shimon Peres, the Foreign Minister and his longtime rival, he masterminded negotiations on the Declaration of Principles signed with the PLO at the White House in September 1993. This won Rabin, Peres and Arafat the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize and opened negotiations with the Palestinians on autonomy in Gaza and some areas of Judea and Samaria and on the establishment of a Palestinian Authority. Then, in October 1994, a Treaty of Peace was signed with the Kingdom of Jordan.
On November 4, 1995, on leaving a mass rally for peace held under the slogan "Yes to Peace, No to Violence," Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish right-wing extremist. Age 73 at his death, he was laid to rest before a shocked and grieving nation, in a state funeral on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, attended by leaders from around the world.
Yitzhak Rabin: A Biography
Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies
Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Page (The Knesset)
CNN Coverage of Rabin Funeral - November 1995
The Song for Peace