Yitzhak Rabin's Assassination and the Dilemmas of Commemoration
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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My first thanks must go to the women and men who opened their homes, offices and hearts by letting me interview them. The conventions of confidentiality prevent me from naming them, but without them, this project would miss the most important voices of all: those of the agents of memory, the real people who stand behind and in front of the mnemonic scenes...
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On November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister and minister of defense, was assassinated in Tel Aviv as he and his bodyguards made their way to a bullet-proof car at the conclusion of a rally in support of the emerging peace process with the Palestinians—a policy Rabin had led since 1993. His assassin, an Orthodox Jewish law student, who belonged...
2 Agents of Memory
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“And what now?” asked Meir Shalev, a well-known novelist, of the audience that had gathered for a memorial ceremony thirty days after the assassination— marking the end of the traditional Jewish month of mourning. “It is with the memory,” he answered with a firm voice, “the last weapon of the dead and the sword of his friends, that we will avenge. Not with a...
3 Times to Remember
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A poll published in an Israeli newspaper a year after the assassination reported that fifty-nine percent of Jewish Israelis felt that the day of the assassination should be declared a national memorial day while thirty-nine percent did not think that it was necessary to mark the event formally.1 None, I believe, thought that within a year they would end up with two...
4 Spaces to Remember
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Two main issues need to be taken into consideration when attempting to understand the sociological significance of spaces dedicated to commemoration in general and to the commemoration of difficult pasts in particular. First, the choice (or lack thereof) of location for commemoration is an essential component of its presentation, symbolic power and statement.1 The fact that...
5 Escorting the Mnemonic Narrative
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Disillusioned and in a somewhat bitter voice, Rabin’s daughter, Dalia (the current chair of the Rabin Center) responded to my question as to how she would like people to remember her father, the late prime minister, and the assassination: “I would not like people to forget Rabin’s background or to associate him only within the Oslo Accords, but to make sure people...
6 Forced to Remember
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Shortly before the second anniversary of the assassination, in July 1997, the Israeli parliament enacted the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day Law (see chapter 3). The most important part of this legislation is the requirement that all state schools mark the event annually. While many can ignore the parliament’s mnemonic session and the ceremony at the gravesite which are...
7 Concluding Remarks
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In this final chapter, I wish to reflect on the research presented in the book by taking three different directions. First, I will “look back” on the research, not by summarizing it, but by offering a discussion of ideas generated therein. Second, I will “look forward” by suggesting several directions for future research on collective memory and commemoration. Finally, I will “look...
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Page Count: 227
Illustrations: 7 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2009