The IDF Commander in Chief recalled the long military career of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin this week in a rare memorial speech that almost excluded any reference to politics and the failed Oslo Accords.
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi stated, “This is how we should remember Rabin – as a true leader, an ethical commander, professional and wise, who knew how to merge a leadership and had a knack for the importance of the smallest of details.”
However, apparently unable to ignore the presence of guest lecturer Prof. Shlomo Avineri, who spoke on the “Roots and Factors of Israeli Democracy,” the IDF Chief of Staff made one reference to Rabin’s political views. “Respected audience, exactly 15 years ago, during the signing ceremony of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, Rabin said ‘It is now time not only to dream of a better future, but to make one.'”
The Hebrew date of Rabin's death 14 years ago is Thursday, but Rabin’s family, mainstream media and organizations sponsoring memorials, most of which oppose nationalist policies, stretch out the ceremonies for up to a week or more. They hold events on both the Hebrew and English dates of his assassination and during the time between them.
Last Saturday night's planned memorial rally in Tel Aviv was postponed to this Saturday because of forecasts of heavy rain.
Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi recalled, “As a young boy who was raised listening to stories of Israel's impressive victory in the Six-Day War, the stories of the Chief of the General Staff [Rabin] at the time who served as commander for that victory symbolized the strength of the IDF, the heroism of its soldiers and its superiority over all of the enemies who stand against us.
“I was impressed by his analytical ability, his courage, his clear mind and deep vision combining constant emphasis on details with wide strategic understanding.
“He was a 'Sabra' [the nickname for native Israelis], a fighter and a dreamer, a man of vision and action.”