Less than 25,000 people gathered to remember former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in Tel Aviv Saturday night while more than 70,000 prayed at Rachel’s Tomb.
The actual memorial dates follow each other by one day on the Hebrew calendar, but the major event for Rabin’s memorial always is held the Saturday night before the actual date of his death, which this year is on Sunday. The anniversary of the death of Rachel also fell on Saturday this year, and tens of thousands of Jews traveled to the holy site after the Sabbath
The “peace camp” often uses the memory of Rabin to promote an agenda that would cede all of the land that was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, including Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.
However, Rabin told the Knesset concerning the Oslo Accords, “At Rachel's Tomb, the principle was determined that worshippers and visitors would not encounter Palestinian police, neither on their approach to the Tomb nor during their prayers.
“The main road to Rachel's Tomb from the Gilo area up to the tomb itself, will be the responsibility of the IDF. Guarding Rachel's Tomb compound will be the responsibility of the IDF (or the Border Police), including three guard-posts outside the compound, which overlook the parking lot. Moreover, security for the area will be provided by joint Israeli- Palestinian patrols activities, in order to preserve the peace and security of those coming to Rachel's Tomb.”
The annual memorial for Rabin again ignored his achievements as a general in the Six-Day War and as a leader of the Labor party and instead focused around his murder.
The most controversial part of the memorial was the invitations and appearance of an official from Bnei Akiva, a leader in the national religious community that for years has been lumped with Rabin’s murderer Yigal Amir for being responsible for the assassination.
"Remembering the murder: fighting for democracy” was the slogan for this year’s memorial.
The annual ceremony was markedly different from the prior years, when Rabin’s memory was used to promote concessions to the Palestinian Authority that he actually opposed when he was Prime Minister.
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.
Foreign media as well as Israel’s mainstream media recall every year the Oslo Accords, which literally blew up in 2000 when Arafat launched the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, which has continued for 12 years.
However, in a speech to the Knesset by Rabin in 1995 on the Oslo Accords, the former prime minister said, no to a Palestinian State: "We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority."
He also clearly stated "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines."
Regarding Jerusalem, which the “peace camp” wants divided between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Rabin said, “First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev -- as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.”