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Remembering the Past, Fighting to Keep Israeli Democracy Alive

Earlier this month we honored the life and memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with a week of activities that focused on the need for all Israeli citizens to agree to come together to breathe life into our country’s democracy. This was the seventh year in a row in which the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz has run the “Rabin Remembrance Tent”. It is part of our effort to establish a shared calendar of events for Akko that shapes a culture for the city that embraces all of its residents regardless of religious, ethnic or national background.

Nearly 1,000 Akko locals, children, teens and adults, Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, participated in activities this year in the Rabin Remembrance Tent in Akko at events in schools, community centers, and in the new Educators’ Kibbutz building. Events included exhibitions in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools about the life and legacy of Rabin and the state of Israeli democracy; meetings on the front lawn of City Hall lawn between students from the Jewish and Arab high schools; a day of introductory sessions for Akko’s newest immigrants in Hebrew-language ulpan classes (together with a Russian-language interpreter), and a cross-community learning session with young religious and secular locals.

Rabin was murdered by a Jewish extremist after a protracted period of intense incitement against the prime minister by factions that opposed his policies of peace and engagement. His assassination truly shocked the nation 23 years ago. By keeping the memory alive, and by bringing all sectors of the Israeli public together to do so, we are working towards a public discourse that sanctifies life, tolerance, respect and the pillars of democracy that allow all of us to share society, even when we disagree.

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