Shir L’Shalom, A Song for Peace

Israelis still remember to this day the blood-stained paper with the words of the Shir L’Shalom on it, with a hole marked by the bullet passing through.

An advocate of peaceful processes, Rabin’s past seems far off. He was once a member of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and even directed Israeli operations against the Egyptian army at Negev during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, where he steadily rose in rank, becoming Chief of Staff in 1964, and in 1967, captured Jerusalem from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt after the Six-Day War. It was in his military career that he was revealed to the atrocities of war, that in time, influenced his actions.

Rabin then became Ambassador to the United States of America in 1968 following the end of the war, and was appointed Minister of Labor in 1973. He succeeded Golda Meir on June 2, 1974, as Prime Minister of Israel. His first term as Prime Minister was met with opposition, leading to his resignation. The following years from 1984 to 1990, Rabin was appointed Minister of Defense, earning him the name of "Mister Security". When the first Intifada broke out in 1987, Rabin enacted sever measures to break the  riots, even quoted saying: "We should break their arms and legs.", an act, in the later years, gradually softened his attitude towards using violence as a means to achieve peace.

Rabin was re-elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1992, where he played a leading role in forging the Oslo Accord, a peace treaty wherein Israel granted partial control to the Palestinians over some parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In return, he received a letter from Yasser Arafat which renounced violence and officially recognized the state of Israel, with Rabin also extending the same to the PLO leader.

"There is only one radical means of sanctifying human lives. Not armored plating, or tanks, or planes, or concrete fortifications.

The one radical solution is peace." ( excerpt from Rabin’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech)

November 4, 1995. Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, was assassinated by a Mizrachi Jewish radical, a group that had strongly resisted Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords, a peace agreement which earned Rabin, together with Shimon Peres, then the Prime Minister of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman the 1994 Nobel Prize for Peace during a rally promoting the acceptance of the Oslo Accords.

The fatal bullet went through a copy of Shir L’Shalom, the image and song that became the rallying cry for peace.

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