YITZHAK RABIN 1922-1995
Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem on March 1, 1922. He graduated from the Kadoorie Agricultural School. Inducted into the Hagana by Moshe Dayan, he participated in the Palmah's operation into Syria in 1941. He was promoted to platoon leader, and in 1945 was deputy commander of the operation that freed 200 illegal immigrants from the Atlit detention camp.
In June of the next year, he was arrested along with hundreds of Jewish leaders by the British, in what came to be known as "Black Saturday", and was sent to the British detention camp at Rafah for six months.
In October 1947, Rabin was appointed deputy commander of the Palmah, serving directly under Allon. In the spring of 1948 he commanded the Harel Brigade, leading them in Operation Nahshon to open the road to besieged Jerusalem, and liberating the Katamon and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods of the city.
Under Allon's command, Rabin took part in the battles for Lod and Ramle, and as chief of operations on the southern front led Operation Horev, the counter-offensive which took control of the Negev and Eilat. He was a member of the delegation that signed the armistice agreements with the Arab states at Rhodes in 1949.
Rabin graduated from the Staff College in Britain in 1953. From 1954-1956 he was head of the Training Branch and was promoted to brigadier general. He served as OC Northern Command from 1956-1959 and as Chief of Operations from 1959-1960, and in 1961 was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff. He became the seventh IDF Chief of Staff on January 1, 1964.
As Chief of Staff, Rabin led the IDF to victory in the Six Day War. He retired from the army on January 1, 1968, and was named ambassador to the United States, where he served for five years.
In the spring of 1973, Rabin returned to Israel and became active in the Labour Party. He was elected Member of the Knesset in December 1973, and when Golda Meir formed her government in April 1974, was appointed Minister of Labour.
Following the resignation of Golda Meir on June 2, 1974, the Knesset expressed confidence in a new government headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
During Rabin's premiership, the Government placed special emphasis on strengthening the economy, solving social problems and reinforcing the IDF. With American mediation, disengagement agreements were signed with Egypt and Syria (1974), followed by an interim agreement with Egypt in 1975. Later in 1975, the first Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the governments of Israel and the United States. In June 1976 Rabin's government issued the order for "Operation Entebbe", liberating the hijacked Air France passengers.
Rabin resigned from the premiership in April 1977.
Following the May 1977 elections and until the formation of the National Unity Government in September 1984, Rabin served as a Knesset Member of the Labour Party in opposition and was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
In the National Unity Governments (1984-90), Yitzhak Rabin served as Minister of Defense. In January 1985, he presented the proposal for the withdrawal of IDF forces from Lebanon and the establishment of a security zone to guarantee peace to the settlements along Israel's norther border.
Yitzhak Rabin was elected chairman of the Israel Labour Party in its first nationwide primaries conducted in February 1992, and led the party to victory in the June 1992 Knesset elections. In July 1992, Rabin formed Israel's 25th Government as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
His premiership was marked by the following landmarks in the peace process:
On September 13, 1993, at the signing of the Israeli- Palestinian Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, Prime Minister shook hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
On October 26, 1994, on the Israel-Jordan border, he signed the Treaty of Peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
On September 28, 1995, he was a signatory to the Israeli- Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Rabin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in December 1994, along with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, shortly after speaking at a peace rally in Tel Aviv's Malchei Yisrael square. He is survived by his sister Rahel, his wife Leah, two children, Dalia and Yuval, and three grandchildren.
Rabin's autobiographical book, "Service Notebook", was published in 1979, and was translated into English and French. His book "Yitzhak Rabin Talks with Leaders and Heads of State" written with Eitan Haber was published in 1984.
Courtesy of Israeli Consulate, NY
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