More than 20 years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, leaders of Israel’s nationalist camp offered an open dialogue on the political chasm which has divided Israel ever since.
A delegation headed by Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) visited the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv on Friday, the first ever visit to the museum by such a delegation. When Rabin was assassinated, Ariel was the head of the Yesha Council in Judea and Samaria.
The group toured the museum and even met with the slain Prime Minister’s daughter, Dalia Rabin, who heads the Rabin Center.
Ariel spoke with Rabin and discussed her father’s legacy and the polarization of the country since his murder.
Rabin lamented that the religious community had largely avoided the museum. In light of the delegation’s visit, she expressed hope that after 20 years without meaningful dialogue with the national religious camp change could be in the offing.
Ariel remarked that the visit had been very moving and pledged to work to enhance the public discourse between right and left. He also noted that Rabin’s legacy was a complicated one for the national religious camp, but said it was important for all Israelis to visit and remember Rabin’s role in Israeli history.
“I came to know Rabin as the Defense Minister and [later] as the Prime Minister, and there were times when we agreed and times of deep disagreement. But it’s important to come here to the Rabin center to recognize what was. Young people especially [need to come], since they barely remember him.”
“It’s okay to disagree, but it must be with mutual respect, bearing in mind that we’re working together to build up the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
At the end of the visit, Ariel signed the museum’s guest book, calling upon Israelis to visit the Center.
“It’s important for every citizen in Israel to come here, to learn and to teach, and to protect and build up [Israeli] democracy peacefully.”