YITZHAK RABIN Assassination
the fifth prime minister of Israel, took place on 4 November 1995 (12 Marcheshvan 5756 on the Hebrew calendar) at 21:30, at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv. The assassin, an Israeli ultranationalist named Yigal Amir, radically opposed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's peace initiative, particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords.
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The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was the culmination of an anti-violence rally in support of the Oslo peace process. Rabin was disparaged personally by right-wing conservatives and Likud leaders who perceived the peace process as an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories and a capitulation to Israel's enemies.
National religious conservatives and Likud party leaders believed that withdrawing from any "Jewish" land was heresy. The Likud leader and future prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Rabin's government of being "removed from Jewish tradition and Jewish values" Right-wing rabbis associated with the settlers' movement prohibited territorial concessions to the Palestinians and forbade soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces from evacuating Jewish settlers under the accords. Some rabbis proclaimed din rodef, based on a traditional Jewish law of self-defense, against Rabin personally, arguing that the Oslo Accords would endanger Jewish lives.
Rallies organized by Likud and other right-wing groups featured depictions of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform, or in the crosshairs of a gun. Protesters compared the Labor party to the Nazis and Rabin to Adolf Hitler and chanted, "Rabin is a murderer" and "Rabin is a traitor". In July 1995, Netanyahu led a mock funeral procession featuring a coffin and hangman's noose at an anti-Rabin rally where protesters chanted, "Death to Rabin". The chief of internal security, Carmi Gillon, then alerted Netanyahu of a plot on Rabin's life and asked him to moderate the protests' rhetoric, which Netanyahu declined to do. Netanyahu denied any intention to incite violence.
Rabin dismissed such protests or labeled them chutzpah. According to Gillon, Rabin refused his requests to wear a bulletproof vest and preferred not to use the armored car purchased for him. Left-wing supporters organized pro-peace rallies in support of the Oslo Accords. It was after one such gathering in Tel Aviv that the assassination took place.
The monument at the site of the assassination: Ibn Gabirol Street between the Tel Aviv City Hall and Gan Ha'ir (in the back).
The assassin was Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old former Hesder student and far-right law student at Bar-Ilan University. Amir had strenuously opposed Rabin's peace initiative, particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords, because he felt that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would deny Jews their "biblical heritage which they had reclaimed by establishing settlements". Amir had come to believe that Rabin was a rodef, meaning a "pursuer" who endangered Jewish lives. The concept of din rodef ("law of the pursuer") is a part of traditional Jewish law. Amir believed he would be justified under din rodef in removing Rabin as a threat to Jews in the territories
After the rally, Rabin walked down the city hall steps towards his car. As he entered the car, Amir approached the car from the rear and fired two shots at Rabin with a Beretta 84F semi-automatic pistol. Rabin was hit in the abdomen and chest. Amir was immediately subdued by Rabin's bodyguards and police on the scene, and fired a third shot at bodyguard Yoram Rubin during the struggle, lightly wounding him. Amir was arrested on the scene with the murder weapon. He was taken to a police station a few blocks away.
Yoram Rubin attempted to get Rabin in the car but Rabin's body was "limp and heavy". Another of Rabin's bodyguards, Shai Glaser, helped put Rabin in the backseat of the car. The driver, was ordered to proceed to Ichilov Hospital at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, a short drive away. Damati became disoriented by the hysteria of the shooting and the crowds that lined the streets, and as a result lost his bearing. Rabin, who was bleeding heavily, was initially conscious and said that he thought he'd been hurt but not too badly before passing out. Two minutes later at 9:52 PM, some ten minutes after the shooting, the car arrived at Ichilov Hospital.
At this time, Rabin was not breathing and had no pulse. After the air was drained from Rabin's chest, his pulse reappeared.
He then underwent surgery. Meanwhile, cabinet ministers, military officers, security officials, and family members of Rabin arrived at the hospital, as did Rabin's Chief of Staff Eitan Haber. After Israeli media reported the shooting, a crowd of spectators and journalists began to gather in front of the hospital. At one point, the doctors managed to briefly stabilize his vital signs, and after being informed, Haber told a high-ranking Defense Ministry official to begin preparations for setting up a makeshift office at the hospital with telephones and fax lines to enable Rabin to continue his work as Prime Minister while recuperating. However, Rabin's condition rapidly deteriorated again. After his heart stopped, a surgeon carried out a cardiac massage in a last-ditch attempt to save him. At 11:02 PM, one hour and twenty minutes after the shooting, doctors gave up their efforts to revive Rabin and pronounced him dead.
At 11:15 PM, Eitan Haber walked out of the hospital to face the television cameras outside and announced Rabin's death to the media:
The government of Israel announces in consternation, in great sadness, and in deep sorrow, the death of prime minister and minister of defense Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered by an assassin, tonight in Tel Aviv. The government shall convene in one hour for a mourning session in Tel Aviv. Blessed be his memory.