Former Israeli Prime Minister, and Nobel Prize Winner Yitzhak Rabin signed a peace treaty with the Palestinians, and was assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995. Last month, the Consulate General of Israel to New England held an essay contest and asked high school students about Rabin’s legacy. This is one of the winning essays. Read another here.
It is often said that younger generations cannot truly understand the impact of a person who died before they were even born. However, it is usually the people who did the most to make the world a better place whose legacy lives on after they die. This most certainly applies to the former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, who through dedication, compassion, and love of his country, built a better future for the state of Israel. From people like Rabin, my generation can better grasp the immense challenges Israel has faced and what we must do now to protect the sacred land of the Jewish people.
Throughout my years of learning modern Jewish history in Hebrew School, I remember hearing the name of Yitzhak Rabin frequently. While it was mentioned that his legacy was mixed to some, all could agree that his devotion to the peace of Israel with other Middle East countries was evident. More recently, I have talked with family members who remember the work of Rabin and what he accomplished in his time as Prime Minister and in the Israel Defense Forces.
Although his influential life was sadly cut too short in 1995, the effects of his work still loom over current day events. As Israel recently has reached agreements, once seen as unthinkable, with other Middle East countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, it is hard not to think of what Yitzhak accomplished more than two decades ago.
Despite living in the U.S., and still desperate to visit Israel for the first time (I was supposed to this summer, but the pandemic changed those plans), Rabin’s selflessness and patriotism are extremely relevant to me and the world we live in. So many Jewish people across the world feel threatened and scared to celebrate their religious spirit and love of Israel. Throughout his time serving Israel, Yitzhak Rabin worked to normalize relations with other nations and promote peace. He believed in courage, respect, and most importantly equality for all. In a world that way too often seems divided, the ideals and memory of Rabin should encourage us to be united.
Finally, the extraordinary leadership that Rabin brought to his duties is what stands out to me the most. He worked closely with what some considered his adversaries from Jordan and Palestine. He even had opponents within his own country who he had the ability to work with. This shows that he always put the interests of Israel and world peace ahead of his own agenda. That is why he won a Nobel Peace Prize, and that is why he should be an example for all world leaders today; Put your people first, not yourself. Through empathetic and considerate negotiations and relationships, as Yitzhak Rabin prioritized, we can Tikkun Olam, repair the world.
Ben Kahn attends Marblehead High School.