Israelis gather to remember slain Rabin

Thousands of mainly young people protest against hardliners opposed to peace with the Palestinians.

    Israelis gather to remember slain Rabin
    Young Israelis representing a wide range of the political spectrum gather to commemorate the slain Rabin [AFP]

    Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to mourn peace-seeking prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on the 18th anniversary of his assassination by a Jewish extremist.

    The protestors that gathered on Saturday were mainly young people representing a wide political spectrum but protesting against Israeli radicals opposed to peace with the Palestinians.

    The protestors carried portraits of the peace-seeking Rabin – who was assassinated after addressing a rally in the same square on November 4, 1995 – and banners with slogans condemning racism and intolerance.

    "Stop the price tag, defend democracy," read one banner, referring to so-called "price tag" attacks on Palestinians by Jewish extremists opposed to  the dismantling of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    "My grandfather was assassinated for peace, and you owe this peace to us, to all of us," Rabin's grandson Yonatan Ben-Artzi said in a speech to the crowd, addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Local media said 30,000 people joined the rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square where Yigal Amir, the man convicted of assassinating the premier, is currently serving a life sentence for his act.

    Amir had hoped to disrupt the 1993 Oslo accords signed by Rabin and the Palestinians, a landmark agreement aimed at resolving the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    Organisers of Saturday's rally had planned it to roughly coincide with the anniversary of the assassination in the Jewish calendar, which falls next week.

    An official ceremony will be held on Tuesday at the Jerusalem cemetery where Rabin is buried.

    SOURCE: AFP


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