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.
What is a legacy? The official definition, according to Merriam-Webster, is, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Most people I ask tell me that it is the money someone leaves behind, or the property, or the heirlooms. But I think that a legacy is so much more than that.
Thomas Campbell, a Scottish poet, once said, “to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” I think this is the best way we can describe what a legacy is. It is to leave something behind in the hearts of those you care about, and to leave the world a slightly better place than how you found it. Yitzhak Rabin did not leave behind money for us to relish, or property for us to enjoy, but he left behind something far more meaningful than that in the hearts of so many – the strength and passion to stand tall even in adversity.
Rabin will live on as long as there are people to remember the things he did for our culture and our homeland. He was a politician, a statesman, a soldier, and a man of the people. As the Chief of the General Staff, he led Israel’s armies to victory in the Six-Day War in 1987. He served as Israel’s Ambassador and then as Israel’s Prime Minister, and he was seen as a war hero and somebody who could grant Israel the security that is has been searching for. Throughout his two terms as the leader of Israel, Rabin sought peace and avoided force, which was what led him to the Oslo Accords and the peace treaty that he created with King Hussein of Jordan.
To me, Rabin’s legacy is something that dictates every choice I make. I remember his courage and his longing for peace, and I remember that he succeeded. He succeeded in making us a homeland, a place of security and amity. When I ask myself what I learned from him, I realize that I’ve learned that it is important to fight for peace and security.
My dream is to be that place of peace for someone; for people to feel safe and secure around me. I don’t want to be unpredictable, or violent, or rash; I want to be caring, and kind, and loving. To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die, and Yitzhak Rabin will always remain in my heart.
Ali Tkach attends Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School.