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Saturday, November 12, 2005

10 Years

Tonight is the 10th yahrtzeit of the murder of Yitzchak Rabin. This year, the date falls out on a Motzoei Shabbat, just as it did in 1995. I remember it very clearly, as I was in Israel during that terrible time.

I was out with friends that night, 10 years ago. We went shopping and ate dinner at our favorite cafe. When we came back to our apartment, we were joking and laughing a bit too raucously, as teenagers are wont to do. As we walked down the hall from the elevator to the apartment, we were making way too much noise, I'm sure. A door to one of the apartments adjacent to ours opened. I could hear the TV blaring behind our pajama-clad American neighbor, who stood silhouetted in his doorway, glaring at us, with tears streaming down his face. "Why are you laughing?" he demanded. "Sorry", I muttered, as my friends giggled behind me. "We'll be more quiet". He continued to stare at our little group as if we were from another planet. I shifted uncomfortably, trying to figure out how to get out of this situation without a lecture about being more considerate of our neighbors. "Dont you know?", he asked, his voice cracking. I looked at the others in my group. They shrugged. "Sorry", I said again, assuming he had meant we had woke him up. "Rabin was shot! Rabin is dead!", he cried. He turned around, slamming the door behind him. We went inside, comletely silenced by our stunned disbelief, and spent the rest of the night and next day glued to the television.

It was a miserable time to be in Israel. I received a hateful comment from an angry man I knew, who was convinced that every Orthodox Jew, including myself, felt that Yigal Amir was perfectly justified in doing what he did. I received an infinitely more hateful comment from an Ultra-Orthodox acquaintance who actually did try to explain to me why Yigal Amir was justified in doing what he did.

I cried hardest during those awful dark days while watching the funeral, and cried hardest during the funeral when I heard Bill Clinton say those famous words "Shalom, chaver". I still don't know why his words resonated so with me. I didn't feel a particular connection with Clinton before then, but all I know is hearing those words, that day, from that man, made me sob and sob.

23 Comments:

Anonymous mycroft said...

The funeral of Rabin-saw the greatest number of world leaders ever in Israel. It means something-from a time when there were far more states that recognized the PLO -than had diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Shalom chaver was a touching scene.
Whether or not Rabin was correct in his geopolitical judgement in retrospect is irrelevant_ I personally think Oslo etc has been a big mistake-but the issue of Amir, Baruch Goldstein, kahane and Feiglin will not go away. I believe they are disastorous for klal Yisrael-unfortunately as Orthomom's ultra-Orthodox acquaintance stated=many Orthodox agree with them,

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What were you doing in Israel ten years ago?

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>I still don't know why his words resonated so with me. I didn't feel a particular connection with Clinton before then, but all I know is hearing those words, that day, from that man, made me sob and sob.

Not just you, Orthomom. Many others had the same reaction to Clintons words. Well said.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Om, great post.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

OM - great post. I was just 12 at the time (woah), but I still remember my sister's frantic calls from Israel, incredibly scared - not knowing what might happen next.

Where I'm from, most people were vehemently against Rabin's policies (many families from our shul had made aliyah, and others were making aliyah around then) - but everyone was distraught over and appalled by his assassination. I've met very few people like the ones you mention - but they need serious help if they think an assassination of a PM is a good thing.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

" but they need serious help if they think an assassination of a PM is a good thing"
tHE jEWISH COMMUNITY ALSO NEEDS SERIOUS HELP tolerating people who incite against those who disagree withh them.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous bishul akum said...

Yigal Amir did exacly what the left wanted he kept Oslo going.

He acted horribly and it is beyond the pale to even imply there is any justification

9:11 PM  
Anonymous bishul akum said...

recieved an infinitely more hateful comment from an Ultra-Orthodox aquaintance who actually did try to explain to me why Yigal Amir was justified in doing what he did.

Ortho you must elaborate.This was not applauded by any uo leaders and was widely condemed.The Chardal leaders were not as vehement

9:22 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

His granddaughters speech really touched me,that was hard to see.

9:32 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Ortho you must elaborate.This was not applauded by any uo leaders and was widely condemed.The Chardal leaders were not as vehement

I think my point was clear. Though the man who thought that all Orthodox were supportive of Amir was completely off base, the sentiment was not completely absent in the UO world. I wish I could pretend that in my personal experience, a man didn't try to explain to me that Rabin was deemed a Rodef by his Rosh Yeshiva, (admittedly before the shooting, and not afterwards in justification) but then I would be lying. It happened. This story is just that. My own story. What does it mean? It means that in my own experience in the aftermath of Rabin's murder, I met more than one hateful person. Was the rabidly anti-Orthodox man who accused me of being happy at Rabin's death any better than the man who tried to justify Amir's actions by quoting psak from his Rosh Yeshiva?? Both were terribly, terribly wrong. I think it's clear to my readers that neither story proves that these men spoke for their whole communities, thank God.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"that neither story proves that these men spoke for their whole communities, thank God"
They didn't speak for the entire community-but a lot of the community accepts this behavior.
As long as segments of the community believes that decorum in a schul is more important than treating people besever panim yafot, and vahafta lereacha kamocha-this type of behavior will occur.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous bishul akum said...

ortho

Amir was a chardal guy.No Uo RY used silly lomdus to call Rabin a rodef.Sorry but this was not a Uo thing

10:32 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

No Uo RY used silly lomdus to call Rabin a rodef.Sorry but this was not a Uo thing

Incorrect. Sorry, bishul, but you're just plain wrong. Whether the sentiment was more prevalent in the chardal world - fine. But to say it didn't exist at all in the UO world is untrue. I was told before the assassination from people living in the UO world that Rabin was a rasha and a rodef. And the person who tried to justify the killing in the wake of the murder was as UO as they come. I don't, however, think that the vast majority in the UO world would have been incited enough to murder Rabin. They frankly didn't care enough about Oslo or anything else going on in the inner workings of the Israeli gov't to be in a murderous rage.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I think many people at the time were in a rage, but not a murdeous one. I think that's why everyone was so shocked. Many, many people were against Olso and Rabin...and I think that had he not be killed, he would have been easily beaten by Netanyahu in the 96 elections.

Public sentiment at the time was very much against Oslo...with buses blowing up every other week.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous zahava said...

Bravo on a well-written piece.

This past summer during the hitnakut, the continued rumblings from the Rabin assassignation were still palpable. Sadly, both forms of the hatred you experienced while here in Israel still manifest themselves in ugly ways. However, from those dark days, it seems some lessons have been learned. I think that the horrible knowledge gleaned from that collective experience is the essence of what promoted people like Bambi Sheleg (et al) to write inclusively about the hitnakut -- to identify not only with the religious zionist perspective on the pain loosing part of Eretz Yisrael, but also to attempt to understand and recognize the intellect and philosophy of the political opposition -- both of which are integral to reconciliation and compromise.

There are many who attribute the relatively quiet manner in which the majority of mifunim (evacuated settlers) left Gush Katif to the aftermath of the Rabin assassignation. Even though 10 years have elapsed, the accusatory aura lingers. Thankfully, we seem to have finally (and hopefully not temporarily) come to the realization that there is far too much at stake to allow the rhetoric to reach such devastatingly feverish pitches. Following calls for Sharon's demise, Rebbeim and Dati Leumi leadership denounced in the strongest terms such talk and tactics.

While this may not seem like much, Israeli friends who lived here during the assassination assure me that the difference is monumental. We can only hope and pray that the knowledge gained from such a tragedy will not be squandered, and that Israel will be zochah to be spared further internal and irreparable damage.

An aside: I too felt the same way about Clinton uttering "shalom chaver." It really was akin to JFK saying "Ich bin ein Berliner."

11:26 AM  
Anonymous bishul akum said...

I don't, however, think that the vast majority in the UO world would have been incited enough to murder Rabin. They frankly didn't care enough about Oslo or anything else going on in the inner workings of the Israeli gov't to be in a murderous rage.

No Uo RY would sanction such an action in his wildest dreams for whatever reason

2:42 PM  
Blogger YS said...

I found Clinton's use of Hebrew bothersome. It came across to me as phony but that was my stance on Clinton on the whole. He saw the Oslo proccess as his way to posterity. He was hunting his legacy not the good of the state of Israel.

And as to public sentiment in Israel toward Rabin.... I had been asleep and my Mom woke me up with "B'Nfol Oyvecha Al Tismach" (Do not rejoice at the fall of your enemy). The reaction of many friends was "Why did it have to be a Jew who killed him?"

No one said it was a good thing but the wreck called Oslo was a scary thing. Hindsight 20/20, we can only guess how things would have proceded had the process not recived deification after the assasination.

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