A day before the 91st birthday of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,
Yehezek Sharabi, his longtime driver, passed away Friday. Sharabi, who drove Rabin from the 1960s until his death, died from cardiac arrest in his home in Rehovot at the age of 69.
"He was sick for some time, even in 1984, when he was working with Rabin, he had a heart attack, he had another one five years ago," he son said. "I remember Rabin," a heavy smoker, "stopped smoking in the car after my dad's first heart attack, so as not to harm his health. They would pull over so he could smoke."
Sharabi's son further elaborated about the two's relationship: "It is hard to explain their connection, they were really quite close.
Rabin at circumcision of Sharabi's first grandson
"Since the murder, he didn’t want to be any other politician's chauffer, so he began working for the Rehabilitation Office,
driving bereaved families.
"I grew up with Rabin in the area. We would sit with him for a coffee, they were good friends and he would almost never replaced him."
Sharabi drove Rabin for more than 25 years
On the night of the murder,
Sharabi was not by Rabin's side.
"A day before the peace rally Rabin told him 'go, be with your family,' and so he took the day off. On the night of the murder itself dad was at home.
Rabin at Bar Mitzva of Sharabi's son
"He was tormented by two things – that he never got to say goodbye and that if he was there, maybe things would have happened differently. 'I would have protected him with my own body' he would always say. There was a real love between them."
Rabin and Sharabi celebrating Rabin's birthday
"My world has collapsed on me, I haven't come to grips with it and am not coming to grips with it," Sharabi said just a day after the assassination.
"How will I go on living? He was one of the dearest people in the world to me. A good, patient man. When he decided something, he always achieved it.
"On Friday our ways parted. I dropped him off at home, and, as always, he said thank you. He was healthy; I always assumed something would happen to me before him."
Sharabi, who retired two years ago as a driver for the Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Office, is survived by three children and six grandchildren.
His last granddaughter was born only a number of weeks ago, "he was so anxious for her to come, he waited for her," his son sadly recalls. He was laid to rest Friday morning in the Marmorek Cemetery in Rehovot.
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