The most powerful sight we saw on our first full day in Israel was the Yitzchak Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv. Our tour guide, Doron, brought us to what is now called Rabin square, which was the site of the Israeli Prime Minister’s assassination on November 4, 1995. Doron was there on the night of the assassination and shared his personal memories of the event along with the national and international significance that carried with it. He was boarding a bus after the rally when his father ran up and said “Rabin was shot.” After his death, Doron said he feared that the country of Israel could fall apart, as the death of the Prime Minister at the hand of an Orthodox Jew could threaten to create a divide among the Jewish citizens.
The monument includes a large banner that simply says the Hebrew word “Slicha” — meaning “sorry” — in large letters, with pictures of Rabin clipped from newspapers underneath. There is also a square full of large broken rocks, which is intended to represent the “earthquake” that shook the nation after his death. The construction of the memorial also allows anyone there to physically recreate the situation with labeled tiles that indicate where the parties (Rabin, his killer, and the security guards) involved stood. The tile labeled “Rabin” and the tile labeled “murderer” are no more than two feet apart.