Rabin’s assassination, in November 1995, nineteen years ago, is probably the first event of international significance that I remember. At the time, as a 9 year old in London I understood that something terrible had happened and over the years until today this sense has only become more profound. On the one hand a political tragedy that a period of optimism and expectation ended in bloodshed, hopelessness and cynicism. On the other hand and perhaps more importantly, a tragedy of Jewish history – a terrible violation of the deeply ingrained consensus that despite our many disagreements and rifts, the value of Jewish peoplehood and the sanctity of life would always prevail.
I have spent most of the last decade as a student of Torah, Jewish history and political philosophy and have always wanted to put together a class that tries to bring together the politics of violence in the State of Israel with political philosophy and Jewish thought. So here it is! Given on Tzom Gedalia at London School of Jewish Studies this year.
May we never again see such events in Israel and instead build a society that respects difference, whose members argue with one another l’shem shamayim, for the sake of Heaven, without resorting to violence.