Remembering a song cut short

Remembering a song cut short

And Lois Goldrich

Twelve years ago this week, according to the Jewish calendar, Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered — while he was singing a song of peace — by an ideologically driven assassin, Yigal Amir.

These 1′ years have seen hamatsav — "the situation," as Israelis call the ambiguous and stressful state of the nation — deteriorate from that "one brief shining moment" when Rabin sang, along with thousands of hopeful Israelis, these stirring words of "Shir LaShalom": "Do not say the day will come — bring that day!"

That day, of course, has not come. However hopeful Rabin was, whatever hope he inspired in Israel and those who love Israel, minutes later he was shot in the back. We will never know what this moment in which we find ourselves might have been, had Rabin lived.

But Yigal Amir lives, about to become a father. He does not deserve this blessing. The Israeli police recently released footage of his interrogation. A police officer asks him if he regrets the murder. His answer: "Heaven forbid."

At a memorial service Wednesday at Rabin’s grave on Mount Herzl, President Shimon Peres, who had stood next to Rabin when he was killed, called Amir the "lowest of murderers, who valued human life cheaply," according to the Jerusalem Post.

We Jews value life. Rabin valued life — his own, the lives of his fellow Israelis, and the lives of all those Jews still to come. He wanted to safeguard those lives.

Though we are wearied by the seemingly endless fight for peace, and we may be weary of painful remembrance, Judaism teaches that we should "seek peace and pursue it," and that we must remember.

We will not forget Rabin, who called himself a soldier for peace — nor will we forget and forgive his murderer, as many in the forgetful Israeli public seem to be doing. According to opinion polls, increasing numbers of Israelis are calling for Amir’s sentence to be commuted, but Rabin’s sentence is eternal.