Noa Ben-Artzi's grandfather, Yitzhak Rabin, was her hero. Some men are great because of their ability to grow and change. Yitzhak was born in Palestine, helped to create the nation of Israel, fought to defend it and yet at the end of his life, made the great steps towards peace and reconciliation with his former foes. Rabin did this out of love for his children and grandchildren and for all children.

As the leader of Israel, he made peace a priority. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 along with Yassar Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization. These two men had spent years fighting each other and yet, in the interest of peace, formed an agreement which showed great courage and faith. They believed that peace was the promise they wished to leave behind for their people.

What follows is a reprint of the eulogy Noa Ben-Artzi gave for her grandfather, the late prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

by Noa Ben-Artzi

You will forgive me, for I do not want to talk about peace. I want to talk about my grandfather. One always wakes up from a nightmare. But since yesterday, I have only awakened to a nightmare--the nightmare of life without you, and this I cannot bear. The television does not stop showing your picture; you are so alive and tangible that I can almost touch you, but it is only "almost" because already I cannot.

Grandfather, you were the pillar of fire before the camp and now we are left as only the camp, alone, in the dark, and it is so cold and sad for us. I know we are talking in terms of a national tragedy, but how can you try to comfort an entire people or include them in your personal pain, when Grandmother does not stop crying, and we are mute, feeling the enormous void that is left only by your absence?

Few truly knew you. They can still talk a lot about you, but I feel that they know nothing about the depth of the pain, the disaster and, yes, this holocaust, for us, the family and the friends, who are left only as the camp, without you, our pillar of fire.

Grandfather, you were, and still are, our hero. I want you know that in all I have ever done, I have always seen you before my eyes. Your esteem and love accompanied us in every step and on every path, and we lived in the light of your values. You never abandoned us, and now they have abandoned you, my eternal hero--cold and lonely--and I can do nothing to save you, you who are so wonderful.

People greater than I have already eulogized you, but none of them was fortunate like myself [to feel] the caress of your warm, soft hands and the warm embrace that was just for us, or your half-smiles which will always say so much, the same smile that is no more, and froze with you. I have no feelings of revenge because my pain and loss are so big, too big. The ground has slipped away from under our feet, and we are trying, somehow, to sit in this empty space that has been left behind, in the meantime, without any particular success. I am incapable of finishing, but it appears that a strange hand, a miserable person, has already finished for me. Having no choice, I part from you, a hero, and ask that you rest in peace, that you think about us and miss us, because we here, down below, love you so much.

To the angels of heaven that are accompanying you now, I ask that they watch over you, that they guard you well, because you deserve such a guard. We will love you Grandfather, always.

Page created on 9/28/2007 8:17:02 PM

Last edited 3/20/2019 5:43:02 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Yitzhak Rabin's Life History
- From the Official Web Site of The Nobel Foundation
Seeds of Peace
- MY HERO honors John Wallach and Seeds of Peace for their efforts to bring children from the Middle East together to have fun and learn to respect one another.

Extra Info

These were the last public statements made by Yitzhak Rabin before his death. They were made at a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995.

YITZHAK RABIN: 1922-1995

Permit me to say that I am deeply moved. I wish to thank each and every one of you, who have come here today to take a stand against violence and for peace. This government, which I am privileged to head, together with my friend Shimon Peres, decided to give peace a chance -- a peace that will solve most of Israel's problems.

I was a military man for 27 years. I fought so long as there was no chance for peace. I believe that there is now a chance for peace, a great chance. We must take advantage of it for the sake of those standing here, and for those who are not here -- and they are many. I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace and are ready to take risks for peace. In coming here today, you demonstrate, together with many others who did not come, that the people truly desire peace and oppose violence. Violence erodes the basis of Israeli democracy. It must be condemned and isolated. This is not the way of the State of Israel. In a democracy there can be differences, but the final decision will be taken in democratic elections, as the 1992 elections which gave us the mandate to do what we are doing, and to continue on this course.

I want to say that I am proud of the fact that representatives of the countries with whom we are living in peace are present with us here, and will continue to be here: Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, which opened the road to peace for us. I want to thank the President of Egypt, the King of Jordan, and the King of Morocco, represented here today, for their partnership with us in our march towards peace. But, more than anything, in the more than three years of this Government's existence, the Israeli people has proven that it is possible to make peace, that peace opens the door to a better economy and society; that peace is not just a prayer. Peace is first of all in our prayers, but it is also the aspiration of the Jewish people, a genuine aspiration for peace.

There are enemies of peace who are trying to hurt us, in order to torpedo the peace process. I want to say bluntly, that we have found a partner for peace among the Palestinians as well: the PLO, which was an enemy, and has ceased to engage in terrorism. Without partners for peace, there can be no peace. We will demand that they do their part for peace, just as we will do our part for peace, in order to solve the most complicated, prolonged, and emotionally charged aspect of the Israeli-Arab conflict: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is a course which is fraught with difficulties and pain. For Israel, there is no path that is without pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war. I say this to you as one who was a military man, someone who is today Minister of Defense and sees the pain of the families of the IDF soldiers. For them, for our children, in my case for our grandchildren, I want this government to exhaust every opening...

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