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A Historic Account of the Life of Yitzhak Rabin
The early years

The Rabin family values and lifestyle are geared towards knowledge of the land of Israel, agricultural work and social activism. Rabin attends Beit Hinuch School for Workers’ Children just outside of Tel Aviv, from ages five to 13. The school was founded in 1924 by the Histadrut, the General Federation of Workers in Palestine.


Attends Kadoorie Agricultural School in the Lower Galilee. The school, founded in 1931, focuses on agricultural settlement and defense of the future Jewish state. During the Arab revolt (1936-1939) the school closes temporarily, and at the age of 14, Rabin joins the Hagana. Rabin resumes his studies at Kadoorie in 1939 and later graduates with honors.


World War II erupts in Europe.


Shortly before the start of the War of Independence, Rabin is appointed Operations Officer of the Palmach.


Israel declares statehood on May 14, 1948 and Arab armies invade the country. At the age of 25, Rabin commands the Harel Brigade in charge of the Jerusalem corridor where his unit suffers many casualties. He also marries Lea Schlossberg during the war.


The War of Independence ends with Israel repelling the Arab armies. Rabin decides to remain in the army and make a career in the military. He is appointed commander of the Battalion Commanders School.


Rabin is appointed head of the general staff operations department, where he proved himself to be an outstanding staff officer with a command of every detail of the many areas under his care and played a major role in shaping the IDF's defense doctrine.


Rabin is sent to England to study at the British army's Staff College.


Rabin returns to the IDF from his studies at the British Staff College in England and receives the rank of Major General. He is appointed head of the IDF Training Branch where he integrates the knowledge he had accumulated in the Palmach and in the British army, sets up the IDF's training infrastructure, is among the founders of IDF's Command and Staff College and sets new standards of officer training.


Appointed Commanding Officer of the IDF Northern Command. Rabin is tasked with responding to infiltration by Fedayeen along the northern border and shelling of Israeli settlements by the Syrian army in the Golan Heights. During the Sinai Campaign he remained in the North and prepared the forces under his command for the possibility of another front opening.


Appointed deputy Chief of General Staff of the IDF.


During the Six Day War, Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Yitzhak Rabin commands the IDF defeat of the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria; occupies the Sinai Peninsula, West Bank and Golan Heights; and unifies Jerusalem, a symbol of tremendous importance to the State of Israel and the highlight of Rabin’s military career. War brings one million Arab people under the control of Israel. Israel becomes a regional power in the Middle East.


Following Golda Meir’s resignation, Rabin runs for head of the Labor Party. He then forms a coalition government and becomes Prime Minister. His administration rehabilitates the economy, narrows social gaps; forges agreement on separation of forces arrangements with Egypt and Syria, which constitutes an important first step toward a peace treaty.


An Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris is hijacked and lands in Entebbe, Uganda. Hijackers separate Israelis from other hostages and demand Israel release dozens of terrorists for their return. The Rabin administration decides to undertake a bold and dangerous attempt to free the hostages. Rabin demonstrates leadership and accountability when he says he is prepared to step down as head of government if the raid fails. The operation is successful and Israeli forces rescued the hostages within an hour after landing in Uganda.


Serves as Defense Minister in National Unity governments of Prime Ministers Shimon Peres (1984-86) and Yitzhak Shamir (1986-88).


Rabin takes a strong-handed approach towards the first Intifada. As revolt continues for four years, deterrence strategies appear to be ineffective. He starts to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires a diplomatic-political solution.


Rabin campaigns on changing Israel’s priorities. As head of the Labor Party, he is elected to a second term as Prime Minister. He believes that solving internal challenges is equally as crucial as advancing the peace process for the future of Israel. He initiates major infrastructure projects, including investments in education, high tech, roads, railways and modernizing the international airport – all of which improve mobility for the flow of capital and labor.


Rabin signs the Oslo Accords recognizing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people. The PLO recognizes the State of Israel’s right to exist and agrees to put an end to the violence against Israel. The Oslo Accords pave the way for new diplomatic relationships with Israel and thus the Arab-Israeli attitude toward Rabin grows more positive. The Oslo Accords internally polarize Israeli society. For the political left and centrist right, they provide hope for an end to violence, terror, and conflict with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world. The political far right opposes the Accords, which to them symbolizes the abandonment of the Land of Israel and security of the Jews living there.


Public dispute over the peace process grows more passionate and violent. Right-wing demonstrations use incitement slogans like “Rabin is a traitor” and “Rabin is a murderer.” A demonstration in Zion Square in Jerusalem features Rabin dressed in a Nazi SS uniform burning in effigy. Escalating personal attacks against Rabin motivate peace supporters to plan a rally in support for the process, condemning the violence and showing a large core of support for the peace process.

November 4, 1995

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right wing extremist at a peace rally at Malchei Israel (now Rabin) Square in Tel Aviv.


Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy embodies the contradictions of Israeli society in general, and particularly its democratic institutions. His legacy will continue to thrive only if Israel’s citizenry are able to nurture and safeguard its nascent democracy, and if its leaders are able to rise above the tumultuous day-to-day politics and lead.

The Yitzhak Rabin Foundation continues to teach Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy through programs that advance his vision for a better society.

“Life may have gone back to normal since that black Saturday evening in the Tel Aviv square, but Israel has yet to recover from the murder. It rocked the foundations of the house we grew up in so hard, and our world – as we knew it until then – will never be the same. This shock forces us to protect our values and fight for them, as they are the hope for our continued existence as a people and as a nation and in order for us to be able to sustain an exemplary society here.”

- Former Defense Minister, IDF chief of staff and senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Lt. Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya’alon, November 2016

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