Who Was Yitzhak Rabin?
Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995) was a complex Israeli leader. On the one hand, he was a top commander in the Palmach, the commando unit of the pre-state militia, and played an important role in the 1948 War of Independence. He ended his military tenure at Israel Defense Force as chief of staff from 1964-1968.
But while he was a war hero, he also was a politician –– just like some later prime ministers. Rabin served as P.M. twice, from 1974-1977 and from 1992-1995. During his first tenure, he oversaw Operation Entebbe, freeing 105 Jewish and Israeli passengers kidnapped by terrorists on an Air France flight.
In his second term, however, he became a legacy. Rabin was the first prime minister to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization and to negotiate with the Palestinians. He signed two agreements, known as the Oslo Accords, in 1993 and then 1995, with PLO head Yasser Arafat. He also inked a 1994 peace treaty with Jordan. In November 1995, he was assassinated by a radical right-wing Israeli at a massive peace rally in Tel-Aviv.
Some have compared Rabin to the late American President John F. Kennedy. Part of his legacy is his effort for peace, part is certainly his tragic death because of those pushes.