A Memorial For A Great Man
This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the assassination of one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers – Yitzhak Rabin. The public memorial was held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv last night and so some fellow OTZMAnikim and I traveled there for the show. We were all very exited because Bill Clinton was going to speak there as well, and not only would he be speaking English, but … sigh, I miss him. The crew jumped into a way over priced
I don’t know if anyone saw it on TV, but it was quite a scene. Thousands and thousands of people were gathered in the square and the surrounding streets. People were carrying huge signs saying shalom akshahv (peace now) and looking sadden and somber with thoughts of the fallen leader. A little after 8pm the memorial began. There were many speakers including the new leader of the Labor Party and Yitzhak Rabin’s grandson and in between each speaker was cheesy Israeli folk music that they all love here (think Od Yavo Shalom Alienu). Some of it was really good though and there were subtitles on a big TV so we all sang along which was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately I still hardly know any Hebrew, so most of the speeches were lost to me (I really thought I heard one the speakers say Clinton and Rabin loved each other every night, but I feel like that can’t be right). However Clinton came up to speak towards the end and was very eloquent as usual. He spoke of how not a week went by since Rabin’s assassination that he did not think of him. He spoke of how he had many years left and they were given up in his quest of peace and because of this we could not let his death happen in vain. Later all the speakers came on stage with a large group of singers and all sang the Israeli national anthem together. Clinton came out with both Hilary and Chelsea, both of whom I have never seen in person, so that was very cool. We were all desperately hoping Clinton would whip out the sax and jam along, but that didn’t happen.
The whole show was very moving. There were many tears in the crowd and at the end they played Imagine, which is one of my favorite songs ever. I felt very fortunate to have been able to participate in this event, as it was quite an experience.