Fighting for Israel, Fighting for Peace

The Fellowship  |  November 11, 2020

Yitzhak Rabin wishes David Ben-Gurion a happy 80th birthday
MR. DAVID BEN GURION RECEIVING THE CHIEF OF STAFF,RAV ALUF YITZHAK RABIN WHO CAME TO CONGRATULATE HIM ON HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY AT HIS HOME IN SDEH BOKER. דוד בן גוריון מקבל את פניו של רמטכ"ל צה"ל רב אלוף יצחק רבין, שבא לברכו לרגל יום הולדתו ה-80, בשדה בוקר.

Twenty-five years ago this month, one of the Holy Land’s bravest fighters and staunchest seekers of shalom, peace, was assassinated. So, meet this week’s Israeli You Should Know – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

A Quiet Son of Immigrants

Born in British-mandate Palestine on March 1, 1922, Yitzhak Rabin grew up the son of olim (immigrants) from the Third Aliyah. Yitzhak attended school in Tel Aviv where he studied farming and Zionism. Although very smart, Yitzhak’s teachers didn’t realize this because of the boy’s shy demeanor.

A Young Fighter

Yitzhak became interested in the military during the Arab Revolt of 1938. Trained by Yigal Allon, the young man devoted himself to fighting for Israeli independence.

During the 1948 War of Independence, Rabin helped the Jewish state on multiple fronts, directing operations in the Holy City of Jerusalem and fighting the Egyptians in the Negev Desert. During the former, he fought along the road to Jerusalem and secured the Holy City’s south. And during the war, Rabin also married Leah, his beloved wife with whom he had two children, Dalia and Yuval.

A Trusted Leader

During the 1950s, Rabin headed the IDF’s Northern Command. Then, in 1964, Israeli PM Levi Eshkol appointed Rabin as the IDF Chief of Staff. Eshkol trusted Rabin fully and followed him “with closed eyes.”

This trust proved correct when Rabin led the IDF to victory over Egypt, Syria, and Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. After Israel retook and reunified Jerusalem’s Old City, Rabin paid a visit to the holy site – among the first to do so – and gave a famous speech atop Mount Scopus.

A Prime Minister

After retiring from the IDF, Rabin first served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, from 1968-1973. After the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Rabin won election to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, serving as Prime Minister Golda Meir’s Minister of Labor.

Rabin then succeeded Meir as Israel’s Prime Minister, beginning in 1974. During his term, the IDF carried out the daring Operation Entebbe, and the U.S. (under President Jimmy Carter) declared its support of Israel defending her borders.

During Rabin’s second term as Israeli Prime Minister, beginning in 1992, he oversaw the IDF’s 1993 fight against Hezbollah. But in the same year, he played a part in the signing of the Oslo Accords, for which he would win the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize.

A Life Cut Short

But Rabin’s quest for peace left some angry. An Israeli extremist assassinated Rabin in the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995. Despite what some might think about Yitzhak Rabin, there’s no doubt that this Israeli You Should Know spent his entire life – and gave his life – for the Holy Land he called home.

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