Israelis rally in memory of Rabin 10 years after his death


World Digest

November 13, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- Pushing babies in strollers and singing peace songs, tens of thousands of Israelis gathered yesterday in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister assassinated 10 years ago by an ultranationalist Jew.

The mood in the square in central Tel Aviv where Rabin was gunned down - now named for him - was subdued and somber.

But the estimated 200,000 in attendance lit up for former President Bill Clinton, who presided over the famous handshake between Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993 that ushered in the landmark Oslo interim peace accords.

Clinton paid an emotional tribute to the 73-year-old Israeli leader, telling the crowd: "I loved him very much.

"He had a lot of life left, and those who shared it loved him for what he shared with us," Clinton said. "However many days he had left, he gave them on this spot for you and your future. And make no mistake, he knew he risked giving them up."

The assassination occurred Nov. 4, 1995, but the anniversary date this year falls tomorrow on the Hebrew calendar. The rally in Rabin Square was the centerpiece of a series of commemorative events scattered between the two dates.

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