'How should I know?' Rabin's grave
Photo: Haim Tzach
'Horrible night.' IDF chief with Dalia Rabin
Photo: Yaron Brener
Many soldiers unfamiliar with details of Rabin assassination
After slain prime minister's daughter says IDF soldiers 'don't remember where they were on night of murder,' Yedioth Ahronoth reporters visit bus stations across country to find out what troops really know about assassination. A few soldiers believe Shin Bet or Mossad involved in killing
Dalia Rabin, slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's daughter, said Monday that "15 years have gone by since the assassination, and those who enlist today do not even remember where they were on that horrible night." A random survey of 100 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, who were between three and six years old when Yigal Amir shot Rabin in Tel Aviv, indicates that she may be right.
At the central bus station in Beersheba, most of the soldiers did not know the exact date of the assassination (November 4), but knew it took place in 1995. "How can I remember the exact date? I was only five when it happened," one female soldier told a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter.
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Another soldier, who answered correctly, said, "I have to know these things; they are teaching us about it in company commanders course."
All of the soldiers polled correctly named Yigal Amir as the assassin, though one female soldier took a few minutes to remember the assassin's last name. A few soldiers claimed the Shin Bet or Mossad were involved in the assassination.
Most of the soldiers' knowledge of Rabin's life story was impressive. One soldier mentioned that Rabin commanded over the Harel Brigade and explained, "My grandfather was his signaller, that's how I know."
Surprisingly, some of the soldiers did not know the origin of the phrase "Shalom, haver (goodbye, friend)," which was coined by former US President Bill Clinton after the murder. Three soldiers thought Rabin uttered the phrase with regards to the peace agreement with Egypt, while others were under the impression that the phrase was coined by Rabin's wife Leah or singer Aviv Geffen.
Soldiers waiting at the bus stops outside the Kirya army base in Tel Aviv said they were against pardoning Yigal Amir, though some of them were not familiar with the circumstances that led to the assassination.
The few soldiers who were in favor of pardoning Amir were not familiar with Rabin's life story.
Yedioth Ahronoth's reporters did not fare much better at Haifa's central bus station, where one soldier said Rabin was killed "sometime during the month of November," while another said, "How should I know?"
Many soldiers in Haifa did described the circumstances leading up to the assassination as "right-wing incitement" and "the division of the Land of Israel."
Yossi Yehoshua, Akiva Novick, Reuven Weiss, Yaron Sasson, Aviad Glickman, Meir Turgeman and Goel Beno contributed to the report
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