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Rabin: Peace Process Cannot Be Interrupted

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The only way for Israel to overcome the horrors of last week's terrorist bombings is to continue wholeheartedly with the current peace effort, Leah Rabin, wife of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, told a packed house of 700 at the Institute of Politics' ARCO Forum last night.

Rabin, whose husband was assassinated the week before he was to have spoken at the same location, recounted in great detail memories of her husband's assassination last November, and then went on to offer her visions for strengthening the future of the peace process in the Middle East.

To honor the memory of Rabin, President Neil L. Rudenstine announced the creation of the Yitzhak Rabin Endowment for Peace at Harvard University.

The endowment, initially to be administered by Provost Albert Carnesale, will be devoted to advancing peace around the world by supporting research, scholarship, teaching and other activities related to the pursuit of peace, Rudenstine said.

The mission of the endowment, the amount of which has not been declared, is to keep alive Rabin's legacy and to "further his efforts to secure lasting peace in the Middle East and throughout the world," the president added.

"Rabin was a symbol of hope, not only for the people of Israel but for all those who cherish peace," Rudenstine said.

The Assassination

Rabin began her speech by vividly describing her husband's assassination by a right-wing Israeli virulently opposed to the peace process, after Rabin had addressed a peace rally of over 200,000 Israelis.

She said that she recalled the crowds asking her to take good care of him. "I tried my best," she told the hushed audience.

Rabin added that she has deeply appreciated the "outpour of emotion of the people of Israel and people all over the world."

The former prime minister's wife went on to express her outrage at the latest terrorist attacks in Israel and acknowledged that the country has been shaken. In the last week, 60 civilians were killed and hundreds injured in a series of bombings.

"This fundamentalist movement is growing like mushrooms," Rabin said. "I feel terrible that young people are being brainwashed that they think they are committing something wonderful."

"It has never been more dangerous in Israel," Rabin said at a press conference before her address.

The Peace Process

In her address, Rabin made an effort to emphasize the importance of continuing the peace process, which is currently endangered by Likud's lead in the polls two months before the Israeli elections.

"We should be strong and continue our lives and just prove that there is no alternative to the peace," Rabin said. "There will obstacles. We will have to live with it and we will have to overcome it."

"We, in the last year, have been through the most unbelievable events," she added, referring to the landmark Oslo Accords. "There is no alternative to the peace process. The train of peace will go on and arrive at its destiny."

Speaking of her meeting with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, Rabin said that in the wake of the assassination he treated her and her family with "great charm and great warmth."

She added that Arafat's condolence visit was a pleasant surprise for her, saying "I felt that if I told Yitzhak, he probably would not believe it."

Rabin said that she hopes to establish to keep alive the mission of peace that her husband advocated through the Rabin Center in Israel.

"This is my agenda," Rabin said. "To speak for him and to carry on his legacy."

She went to speak of her desire to establish a Yitzhak Rabin Center in Israel which would contain a library, a museum and a center for study.

"I very much hope to carry the ideal of my husband the same way that the Kennedy School and the John F. Kennedy Library keep alive the ideals and hopes of President Kennedy," Rabin said.

Rabin spent much of her day in Boston visiting both of those places, as well as meeting with students, faculty and members of the community. She met with the students on the IOP's student advisory committee and the leadership of Hillel.

Student Reaction

Students at the speech said they were impressed by Rabin's presentation and her passionate defense of the peace process.

"I thought she really spoke from the heart," said Julia W. Andelman '97-'98. "She has a lot of idealism for the peace process and that is really inspiring."

"I think she is a really extraordinary woman with very strong moral convictions," added David J. Andorsky '97, Hillel chair. "She really carries the torch of her husband's legacy very well."

Andorsky said that in the wake of the recent terrorist actions in Israel, he hopes Hillel will develop initiatives to "provide a feeling of solidarity among American Jews here and Israelis."

"We are trying to put together a statement by a large number of campus religious and ethnical organizations decrying terrorism and responding specifically to the latest wave of terrorism in Israel," Andorsky said. "It's not a part of the civilized world and can't be allowed under any circumstances.

"This fundamentalist movement is growing like mushrooms," Rabin said. "I feel terrible that young people are being brainwashed that they think they are committing something wonderful."

"It has never been more dangerous in Israel," Rabin said at a press conference before her address.

The Peace Process

In her address, Rabin made an effort to emphasize the importance of continuing the peace process, which is currently endangered by Likud's lead in the polls two months before the Israeli elections.

"We should be strong and continue our lives and just prove that there is no alternative to the peace," Rabin said. "There will obstacles. We will have to live with it and we will have to overcome it."

"We, in the last year, have been through the most unbelievable events," she added, referring to the landmark Oslo Accords. "There is no alternative to the peace process. The train of peace will go on and arrive at its destiny."

Speaking of her meeting with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, Rabin said that in the wake of the assassination he treated her and her family with "great charm and great warmth."

She added that Arafat's condolence visit was a pleasant surprise for her, saying "I felt that if I told Yitzhak, he probably would not believe it."

Rabin said that she hopes to establish to keep alive the mission of peace that her husband advocated through the Rabin Center in Israel.

"This is my agenda," Rabin said. "To speak for him and to carry on his legacy."

She went to speak of her desire to establish a Yitzhak Rabin Center in Israel which would contain a library, a museum and a center for study.

"I very much hope to carry the ideal of my husband the same way that the Kennedy School and the John F. Kennedy Library keep alive the ideals and hopes of President Kennedy," Rabin said.

Rabin spent much of her day in Boston visiting both of those places, as well as meeting with students, faculty and members of the community. She met with the students on the IOP's student advisory committee and the leadership of Hillel.

Student Reaction

Students at the speech said they were impressed by Rabin's presentation and her passionate defense of the peace process.

"I thought she really spoke from the heart," said Julia W. Andelman '97-'98. "She has a lot of idealism for the peace process and that is really inspiring."

"I think she is a really extraordinary woman with very strong moral convictions," added David J. Andorsky '97, Hillel chair. "She really carries the torch of her husband's legacy very well."

Andorsky said that in the wake of the recent terrorist actions in Israel, he hopes Hillel will develop initiatives to "provide a feeling of solidarity among American Jews here and Israelis."

"We are trying to put together a statement by a large number of campus religious and ethnical organizations decrying terrorism and responding specifically to the latest wave of terrorism in Israel," Andorsky said. "It's not a part of the civilized world and can't be allowed under any circumstances.

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