Slain Israeli Leader Eulogized

The 2 p.m. bell of Memorial Church tolled solemnly yesterday afternoon as more than 500 students, faculty and administrators paid tribute to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the steps of Widener Library.

In a memorial service organized by the Hillel Coordinating Council, the crowd quietly gathered to listen as members of Hillel and President Neil L. Rudenstine mourned the slain prime minister.

"The audience was reflective and somber and sad. There were lots of tears," said Director of Hillel Bernard Steinberg, who delivered the invocation at the service. "This [service] was to acknowledge the loss of a great man and to express what we feel is a vacuum in a storm."

The rally began with a description of Saturday's tragic events delivered by Rachel B. Tiven '96-'97. Standing next to a student who held an Israeli flag. Tiven recounted the details of Rabin's assassination.

Following Steinberg's invocation, Rudenstine delivered an address in which he called Rabin's death "a metaphoric loss" to the generation of people who have not lived through Israel's establishment and growth.

"When the dynamics we see now in a state more divided than before, when processes are underway when people are taught and learn to dislike, distrust and hate, it's very hard to unlearn," Rudenstine said.


Rudenstine likened Rabin to Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Anwar Sadat and Martin Luther King, calling them "different peace makers representing similar aspirations who have fallen in this way."

Students commemorated Rabin through poems, personal reflections and by reading the words of the peace song that Rabin sung at the rally in Tel Aviv last Saturday.

"Yitzhak Rabin was murdered because he dared to pursue the dream of peace between the Arab and the Jew," said Martin Lebwohl '96, recalling the words spoken by Rabin at the White House after signing the historic peace treaty with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

"For me, [Rabin] was someone who inspired, and I am mourning the loss of a champion of an enduring idea," Lebwohl said. "It was not easy for Rabin to sign the treaty, but that he said 'enough of blood and tears' and was able to shake the hand that nobody wanted to what made him heroic to me."

The service ended with the Mourner's Kaddish led by Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold. The audience joined in this prayer and in the singing of the Hatikvah to express the universal hope of freedom and peace.

Mourners attending the memorial expressed grief and shock at the prime minister's killing.

"The death of Rabin was tragic," Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies Jay M. Harris told the group of hushed mourners. "But it would be even more tragic if we allow this event to pass without any reflection in each of us."

Others at the service, declined to comment on their personal feelings because of the emotional intensity of the moment.

"I really felt the emotional weight there," said Yoni E. Braude '99. "And if you looked at the crowd, if you saw the faces, you could see people from various ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. It was a very diverse crowd showing their support for a man, a country and a process."

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, who was one of the on-lookers, said he wanted to pay his respects to Rabin's qualities as a leader.