Yitzhak Rabin

by Danna from San Diego

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin

A country's leader is supposed to carry out the will of his or her people. The citizens decide, and the leader follows their decision. He or she is the voice of the people. But that's not always the case. One example of this is Yitzhak Rabin, former Israeli Prime Minister. Rabin was an Israeli war hero and was elected Prime Minister twice in his life. He became a popular and well-liked leader, until he made the decision to pursue a peace treaty (later called the OSLO Accords that allowed Palestinians to settle in what is now Gaza) with Israel's long time enemy, Jordan. He became instantly hated by extremists and opposing political parties who did not want to become allies with Jordan. Rabin and his followers' received sent death threats, hate mail, and were even called traitors to their country. But none of this stopped Rabin from trying to make peace, because he knew it would end up benefitting both countries in the end. Rabin's accomplishments may have won him to Noble Peace Prize and helped him because one of Israel's best known Prime Ministers, but the real accomplishment for him was achieving peace when many people were against him and wanted war. Even if it did not last forever, he had the ability to stop the warring in his country for a little while, which was more than anyone else could have done at the time. Yitzhak Rabin not only became Israeli Prime Minister and a known war hero, but he used his influence to negotiate peace with Jordan when most of his country wanted to go to war; his determination, caring for others, and courage makes him a huge inspiration.

Yitzhak Rabin's determination to achieve peace between the warring countries of Israel and Jordan helped him face the obstacles in his path. Rabin's idea was not widely accepted at first, with many extremist groups and opposing political parties against it. However, Rabin tried to show them that peace was the only way to end the conflict, not war. "For nearly two generations, desolation pervaded the heart of our two peoples. The time has now come not merely to dream of a better future but to realize it." (Rabin at the Signing of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty). He wanted his people to realize and that if they went to war with Jordan again the conflict between their people would never end, and it would not end well for both countries. Many people eventually agreed with Rabin, but sadly, some people did believe that war was the only option and that Rabin was a traitor for giving up some land to the Jordanians. When the treaty eventually got signed, many people still opposed Rabin. But he had still determined to show the extremists who wanted war that peace was the only option. At the signing of the Israel-Jordan treaty (OSLO Accords), Rabin still protested peace saying, "there is only one radical means of sanctifying human lives. The one radical solution is real peace." Rabin's powerful words and that the treaty was really being signed made many people realize that peace was beginning to happen, and that it was a reality rather than something they never thought would happen. Two countries that had been at war for the "Holy Land" for so long were finally making peace because of the actions of Yitzhak Rabin. Many people eventually joined his cause, Israeli and Jordanian citizens both. It takes real determination to achieve something that not many people thought would happen, but Yitzhak Rabin had that determination and the motivation that there might be peace someday.

Rabin (left) making peace with the King of Jordan ( ())
Rabin (left) making peace with the King of Jordan ( ())

Yitzhak Rabin may have been Israeli Prime Minister, but he did not let the peace treaty favor Israel over Jordan; he cared about the happiness of both countries rather than just his own. Rabin respected the citizens and King of Jordan's demands, and he did not see Jordan as an enemy like many Israelis did, but rather as allies. "It is not only our states that are making peace with each other today, not only our nations that are shaking hands in peace here in the Arava. You and I, your Majesty, are making peace here, our own peace, the peace of soldiers and the peace of friends," (Rabin to the King of Jordan). His speech to the King of Jordan marked their end to being enemies and the beginning of an alliance for peace and the end of constant war. Rabin addresses the king as a friend. Not only did he make friends with the king, but he showed the citizens that he was not their enemy either, and that he did not wish to fight them. Rabin doesn't just show that he doesn't want to fight them, but he recognizes their tragedies too and recognizes that not only his country is affected by war. "On behalf of the government and myself, I wish to express our sorrow over the incident and extend condolences to the families of those who were killed and to the Palestinian people, and wish a full and speedy recovery to the wounded," (Statement by Rabin on the 1994 murders in Hebron). Although Israelis were responsible for the multiple deaths on Palestinians occurring during the Hebron murder, Rabin did not try to put the blame on anyone. He only wanted to try and atone for the horrible tragedy that occurred. Although this put a setback in his plan for peace, Rabin used to Hebron massacre to show the Palestinians that he did care about their peace and safety. In his negotiations, Rabin showed that he did not only care for the benefit of Israel, but for the benefit of Jordan.

Yitzhak Rabin had the courage to negotiate peace when many people hated him for it and wanted him dead. Many extremists, mostly Israeli protest groups of opposing political parties, hated Rabin for trying to make peace with the "enemy". They did not want Palestinians to receive a part of their land, and were willing to fight for it. "Some extremist Rabbis gave sermons in which they expressed the belief that Rabin was a traitor who persecuted the Jewish people. Some members of the Likud Party, political opponents to Rabin's Zionist Party, stated that Rabin's followers were traitors and terrorists. Extremist right-wing propaganda linked Rabin and his followers to Nazis," (Eulogy for Yitzhak Rabin). So many people hated Rabin for his peace treaty, and tried to turn people against him, even going so far as the plan murder. Rabin was hated for what he kept going with his negotiations. His courage to continue even though he knew he was in danger also helped inspire many people to join his cause. Rabin still refused to stop his negotiations, and it put him in major trouble, but he still managed to negotiate peace. "Rabin refused to allow the threats to limit his public appearances or to diminish the energy with which he pursued the peace process," (Eulogy for Yitzhak Rabin).Rabin attended many peace rallies after the OLSO Accords were signed, and many times this put him in danger. But he continued to spread his message of peace. Rabin did not let death threats stop him until on November 14th, 1995 he was shot and killed by an Israeli extremist while protesting at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Rabin may have died before seeing peace, but he tried his hardest to maintain peace while he lived, no matter what the danger to himself.

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin's determination, caring personality, and powerful courage helped him achieve peace with Jordan when parts of his own country were against him. If Rabin had given up, what would have happened to Israel? It probably would have ended up in worse conditions then it is now. Even if Rabin's peace treaty did not last long after he died, he managed to do one important thing: prove that it's possible to create peace and stop the fighting. If Rabin had survived, maybe the peace treaty would have stayed intact and led to more peace and less fighting. Rabin really did "keep the peace" between the two countries. Rabin inspired me to do the right things for others, no matter what the cost. The right thing to do is always the better option, and you should do it for the benefit and happiness of others you care about. He sacrificed his life to do the right thing by Israel and Jordan, and that's what makes him a true hero. Rabin had a message to spread to not only Israel and Jordan, but to the world. He wanted to show that peace can be achieved and war is not the answer. Peace is the only way for the world to be happy. Rabin had only achieved it for a little while, but it inspired many people. Rabin was a true hero in the end, even if some people did not realize it.

Works Cited

Pelossof, Noa Ben-Artzi. "Eulogy for Yitzhak Rabin." Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 208-210. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.


PM Rabin- Signing Ceremony Of Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. Israel Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. .

Rabin, Yitzhak. "Statement by Israeli Prime Minister Rabin on the 1994 Murders in Hebron." Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 202-205. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Yitzhak Rabin." U*X*L Biographies. Detroit: U*X*L, 2003. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Page created on 1/10/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/10/2013 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs - More background information about Yitzhak Rabin
Nobel Peace Prize - Information about Yitzhak Rabin winning the Nobel Peace Prize
CNN News - Information about the assassination of Rabin