(Greer Fay Cashman, Jerusalem Post Staff)
A state ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday morning opened the events commemorating the 10th anniversary of the assassination of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
· What have we learned?
· Commemoration vs denial
· The lesson for the peace camp
Dalia Rabin, daughter of the slain leader, asked the audience if, after 10 years, "Have we realized? Have we understood?" Long before a decade passed, we had reached conclusions, Dalia said, but the lessons haven't yet been learned.
"Where are we going today? Where and how?" she continued.
Dalia Rabin ended her tribute by praising Rabin's vision, his bravery in leading Israel along a new path. There can be no doubt, she said, that "He was ahead of his time."
She attached great importance to involving children and youth in Rabin memorial events. As leaders of the future, it is important for them to be inculcated with democratic values from the earliest possible age, she added.
In a press release, Rabin's daughter expressed her appreciation to Beit Hanassi, occupied by Ezer Weizman at the time, for establishing the tradition of an annual memorial ceremony for her father.
She was also appreciative of the fact that each year Katsav renews the message that political assassination is a phenomenon that can neither be forgotten nor tolerated. The essential purpose of the Rabin Center, she stressed, was to enable democratic values in Israel to take root and grow stronger.
Katsav has expressed in no uncertain terms that in his opinion Yigal Amir is undeserving of clemency, either from him or from "any president to come." Katsav stressed that he would not even consider a reduction in Amir's life sentence.
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin addressed ongoing conflict in Israeli society, cautioning those present that 10 years after Rabin was murdered, there was "A public sector too big to be ignored; too important to be discounted; too idealistic to be dismissed."
The Israel Democracy Institute presented a report and chose to highlight the disturbing statistic that 10 years after the assassination of Rabin, 84% of Israelis believe that another political murder could be possible.
In reply to the question "Who is the main culprit in Yitzhak Rabin's assassination?' that was put to 1,726 respondents of whom 1,491 were Jews and 235 Arabs, less than 40% listed Yigal Amir. Of those who did, the overall percentage was 35.6%, with 37.2% of Jews pinpointing Amir and 25.5% Arabs. Other answers included: the political right; the security services; Yitzhak Rabin; the political left; and the media.
Thursday's ceremony was attended by members of the Rabin family, Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, government ministers, MKs and members of the Rabin Center. President Katzav will join students of the Rabin School in Netanya in lighting memorial candles in honor of the slain premier.
The candlelighting ceremony serves as a reminder of the swarms of traumatized children who came to Malchei Israel Square - renamed Rabin Square after the assassination - in Tel Aviv to light candles in the immediate aftermath of Rabin's murder.
Vice Premier Ehud Olmert said Thursday that Yitzhak Rabin led the way to a more realistic mindset in Israeli society as to political steps that should be taken.
Olmert added that while the Oslo peace process had weaknesses, there were also justifications for it. "[Oslo] doubtless forced Israel to look inward and reach the right conclusions, which include a return to the 'right' borders, and the need to remain a Jewish, democratic state," he stated.