A close call: The main assembly in memory of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was almost not about to take place this year, for the first time in the 21 years since he was fatally shot by Yigal Amir in what is now Rabin Square, following a peace rally. Organizers had announcedon Sunday that the ceremony in Rabin Sq. will be canceled this year, due to a lack of funding and sponsors.
After hearing of the cancelation, though, Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog came out with a statement of his own, saying the Labor Party, which he heads, will take on the memorial.
"We, the Labor party, will organize an alternative rally," read the statement. "It should also be noted that the rally was always the responsibility of private and external bodies, but that since this involves the murder of our leader, former Labor learder Yitzhak Rabin, we insist on conducting an alternative rally, taking into account the time constraints and conditions."
Brig. Gen. (res.) Asaf Agmon, who was one of the original organizers, elaborated on their initial decision to put together an event. “Toward Yom Kippur, I discovered that there probably wasn’t going to be a ceremony commemorating Rabin’s assassination, since no organization was willing to take on the responsibility of overseeing it. As a result, I decided to take it upon myself, including raising the necessary budget."
Before the Labor party stepped in, he regretfully announced the ceremony's cancelation on Sunday afternoon, adding, "This is a stain in the history of the State of Israel.”
News of the would-be cancelation quickly raised a wave of public protestation. Producer Hemi Sal, who took part in organizing the Rabin memorial ceremony in past years, responded to news of this year’s cancelation.
“As someone who has been accompanying the annual rallies in memory of Rabin for 20 years, it is inconceivable to me that this year the traditional ceremony in Rabin Sq. won’t take place,” said Sal. “Now more than ever, as voices of incitement and divisiveness rise from within Israeli society, it would make sense that we all arrive at and fill the square.”