Twenty years ago Yitzhak Rabin was murdered - two years after signing the Oslo accords - which held out a road to peace not taken. Historical`what ifs' are always of uncertain reliability, especially if you shy away from great man theories of history and lean toward structural explanations. And yet.... I wrote this editorial which was published shortly after the Prime Minister's assassination by New Jersey Lawyer - the State Bar Association weekly on who Editorial Board I served. - gwc
Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, was a law student. That he claimed the law of the torah and the bible as authority shows how little he understood about the law.
We in the United States have seen other assassins, acting under vague claims of right, strike down our leaders. Most recently ordinary citizens working for the government in Oklahoma City and at work in New York City's World Trade Center have been viciously assaulted by terrorists.
The assassins see the law only as an instrument of domination. But the sight of Yasir Arafat, making a shiva call at the home of Leah Rabin, reminds us that the law's heart is not domination but agreement. Yitzhak Rabin wanted to reach agreement more than he wanted to denounce his enemy. He learned to seize upon what was positive in the adversary's initiative rather than focus on its shortcomings.
Agreement is the heart of peace, of law, and of democracy. It often requires compromise of what is dear. The courage to compromise is rarer and harder to muster than is exultation at the storm that destroys our enemies' house. The wisdom to reach agreement was bought with all that Yitzhak Rabin had - his life. This week, at Thanksgiving, we should recall the withered fields and the seasons of war that preceded the season of peace and accord that Yitzhak Rabin's peacemaking has made possible.