Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 25 years ago, on Nov. 4, 1995.
It was a moment of horror, of deep sadness for many in Israel and around the world. The assassin opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords, an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that Rabin championed – after his 27-year career as a soldier.
Milwaukee Community Shaliach Uria Roth, a cultural emissary from Israel brought to Milwaukee by Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is organizing a series of events marking Rabin’s death for the Federation’s Israel Center. The public is invited to the virtual events, where changes in Israeli culture after Rabin’s death are to be explored.
“The environment in Israel that year, in 1995 and before that year, it was so intense and so frightening. In a sense, we saw what was coming, and nobody did anything to stop it,” he said. “I think for my generation, this was a real trauma.”
Roth said the assassination changed Israelis, forever altering the politics of some. Some of the change may include a recognition that opposing sides don’t always hear one another.
The first of the scheduled events, on Oct. 13 at 3 p.m., will relate to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Mohammad Darawshe is a Muslim Arab and an Israeli citizen, who supports dialogue between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
He’s not the only one thinking along those lines.
“I can think of at least 10 nonprofit organizations that were established because we didn’t talk with each other,” Roth said.
One of the Israeli nonprofits, a group called Bina, seeks to advance pluralism, justice and democracy. You’ll have an opportunity to meet the director, Ayala Dekel, at the Oct. 27 virtual event, at 3 p.m.
Bina also works to help secular Israelis better understand those who are religious.
“It’s about bringing Jewish studies to the secular population in Israel,” Roth said. The idea: “There’s no more gap between us. We both know the texts. We both know what this is about.”
A third event, slated for Nov. 10 at 3 p.m., will involve a speaker on issues of right and left. That speaker was not confirmed yet, as of Chronicle press time.
Finally, the movie “Incitement,” a fictionalized version of events leading up to the assassination, will be discussed on Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. It will be available for the community to watch starting Nov. 22.
In his youth, Roth attended a right-leaning boarding school but didn’t feel comfortable with what he was being taught. “I didn’t like it,” he recalled.
At one point, he had to write an essay on why the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.
“The dialogue that we are doing now in 2020 is different from the dialogue that we had in 1995,” Roth said. “I think we’re doing just a little bit better of listening to each other.”
* * *
How to go
Oct. 13 at 3 p.m. – Meet Israeli Arab Mohammad Darawshe.
Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. – Executive director of an Israeli nonprofit.
Events are free and virtual. Email Milwaukee Community Shaliach Uria Roth at UriaR@MilwaukeeJewish.org for the Zoom link.