Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Prime Minister tragically assassinated at a peace rally in 1995, is a global icon whose leadership, courage, values and vision resonate to this day with people in Israel and around the world. Yitzhak Rabin is remembered as a military leader, statesman, peacemaker and unifier. Known as “Mr. Security,” Rabin took dramatic steps towards resolving the conflicts with Israel’s neighbors. His name is synonymous with the greatness of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), beginning with the War of Independence where as a young brigade commander he led his unit to multiple and significant victories, to assuming the role of Chief of Staff, commanding the IDF to victory during the historic Six-Day War which resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem. He considered it the crowning achievement of his military career.
Since the country’s establishment in 1948, Israel has been surrounded by hostile states. Following the peace treaty with Egypt signed by Menachem Begin, Rabin signed a peace treaty with Jordan and sought peace and reconciliation with the Palestinians through the Oslo Accords. As a result of his efforts Israel’s standing in the world improved greatly, opening up the country to unprecedented opportunities for international trade. For his efforts he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.
As Israel’s first native-born Prime Minister, Rabin was also steadfast in his efforts to change Israel’s priorities from within: He shifted the country from one “struggling for survival” to a flourishing, democratic nation seeking equal opportunity for all its citizens, both Jewish and Arab. During his second term as Prime Minister, Rabin invested unprecedented resources in the country’s infrastructure, education, and research and development as well as in science, technology and agriculture. He initiated many of the largest infrastructure projects in Israel’s history including Highway 6, a trans-country toll road, and the modernization of Ben-Gurion International Airport. He was also the first Prime Minister to double the education budget -- building schools, raising teacher salaries and introducing computer studies in the classrooms. These initiatives and many others changed the face of Israel, advancing it from within and opening it up to the world, a feat from which the country still prospers to this day.
The Yitzhak Rabin Foundation (YRF) was formed to perpetuate the values, vision and legacy of the late Prime Minister. From 2004 to 2014, the Yitzhak Rabin Foundation (YRF), operated as the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center (AFYRC), providing over $17 million to complete the Yitzhak Rabin Center and Israeli Museum in Tel Aviv. Today, the Yitzhak Rabin Center -- a well-known landmark -- hosts tens of thousands of visitors annually, sponsoring seminars and workshops for schoolchildren and soldiers. The Israeli Museum, housed within the Center, is recognized as an educational resource providing critical societal perspectives for Jews and non-Jews alike on the modern history of Israel while illustrating the intertwined life story of Yitzhak Rabin.
In 2015, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, the YRF expanded its outreach beyond the Center creating partnerships with academic institutions and supporting non-partisan initiatives that promote peace and better understanding among Israel’s diverse groups and its neighbors. The primary project, the Yitzhak Rabin Fellowship in Democracy Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, continues his legacy with the establishment of two perpetual fellowships funded by the YRF.
Additionally, the YRF provided grants to: the Israeli Regional Initiative (formerly known as the Israeli Peace Initiative - IPI), the Social Economic Academy (SEA), and Our Generation Speaks (OGS) at Brandeis University.