Photo: Uriel Hershko
Education Minister Yuli Tamir
Photo: Uriel Hershko
Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Photo: Meir Fartush
Tamir: Rabin Memorial Day as important as Holocaust day
Education minister comments on poll showing one third of Israelis support pardoning Yigal Amir, lack of respect for memorial day in school system, ‘The message is unequivocal; a memorial day is a binding part of the system’
Education Minister Yuli Tamir was concerned about the findings of a recent Yedioth Ahronoth poll which showed that one third of Israeli citizens supported granting a pardon to Yigal Amir, 11 years after he was found guilty of murdering Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.


“Since there are still people who feel that way, we’ll have to enhance activities at schools,” Tamir told Ynet Saturday. She was aware that some schools decided to ignore the issue all together and commented, “In my eyes, this day has the same importance as Independence Day and Holocaust Day, which incidentally some schools do not mark either.”


Conducted by the Dahaf Institute under the supervision of Mina Tzemach, the poll showed that five percent of Israelis were in favor of granting the prime ministers killer a pardon effective immediately, while another 25 percent thought he should be pardoned in 25 years.


Sixty-nine percent of those polled said they opposed granting Amir a pardon. That showed a significant difference in comparison to a similar poll conducted last year in which 76 percent of Israelis opposed the pardon.


“I’m worried that despite all the memorial activities each year, the message that this murder is different because its political is something that hasn’t sunk in if there are still those who support pardoning Yigal Amir,” Tamir said.


According to the “Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day Law” enacted in 1997, all schools in Israel are obligated to have activities commemorating the former prime minister as well as activities dedicated to the importance of democracy in Israel and the danger of violence in society and in the country.


However, some schools do nothing each 2 November to mark the day. “The message is unequivocal, a memorial day is a binding part of the system,” Tamir said.


“I don’t want to say in advance that I will penalize, but I would certainly want to know which schools did not hold memorial events and I would like to ask the principles why they chose to do that. I will emphasize and firmly explain so that it is clear that this is an important event,” the education minister added. 


In order to root the issue, the Education Ministry planned to augment civics classes by an extra unit starting from the next school year. The program would provide high school students with four weekly hours of study on the subject, instead of the one hour currently offered to juniors and seniors.


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