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Yitzhak Rabin

1922 - 1995.

Yitzhak Rabin was Israel's former IDF Chief of Staff, the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Rabin was born in Jerusalem to Eastern European Jewish immigrants, and he grew up in a Zionist household. His parents were members of the Labor Unity party.

His journey in the military began at age 14 when he joined the Hagannah, the Yishuv's military force.

A few years later, he was one of the first to enlist in the Palmach (1941-1948), where he held different positions, including commander of the Harel Brigade (today part of the Southern Command). In the War of Independence, he was the operations officer of the Southern Front.

Over the years, he climbed the ranks and played a pivotal role as chief of operations during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, where he directed Israeli operations in Jerusalem and fought the Egyptian army in the Negev.

During the first truce, Rabin commanded IDF forces on the beach of Tel Aviv confronting the Irgun during the Altalena Affair.

In early 1949, he participated in the Israeli delegation for armistice talks with Egypt on Rhodes, resulting in the 1949 Armistice Agreements that concluded the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. After the war, he became the highest-ranking ex-Palmach member in the IDF post-demobilization.

Later, Rabin contributed significantly to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), shaping its training doctrine in the early 1950s and leading the Operations Directorate from 1959 to 1963.

His leadership culminated in becoming Chief of the General Staff in 1964, overseeing Israel's triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War.

  • On this link, you can listen to an extract of his speech at Har Hatzofim in Jerusalem after the 6 days War.

  • The full speech is Written in English on that link.

  • Here are some words, still relevant today, that he pronounced when he visited soldiers.

After the war, he led the reorganization of the army, which was required to spread over many territories and protect long borders.

Rabin's diplomatic endeavors included serving as Israel's ambassador to the United States from 1968 to 1973, strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Following Golda Meir's resignation, he assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1974 (after winning against Shimon Peres the primaries for the Haavoda Party).

During his first term, Rabin signed the Sinai Interim Agreement (Israel withdrawal from Sinai) and authorized the Entebbe raid (1976) but resigned in 1977 amid a financial scandal.

In the 1980s, Rabin held the position of Israel's Minister of Defense, navigating challenges during the First Intifada (1987). He also worked to establish a security zone in southern Lebanon.

In 1992, he was re-elected as Prime Minister (as the leader of the Haavoda Party), focusing on the Israeli–Palestinian peace process via the Oslo Accords, in which he played a crucial role.

He headed direct negotiations with the PLO leadership, which led to the establishment of Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and Jericho, as a follow-up to the first part of the Oslo Accords of 1993.

His commitment to peace was recognized in 1994 when he, along with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

That same year, Rabin also signed a peace treaty with Jordan, with King Hussein being his counterpart.

Tragically, his pursuit of peace was cut short in November 1995 when he was assassinated by extremist Yigal Amir, who opposed the Oslo Accords.

You can have more information about the day of his death by clicking on this article, explaining the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day.

  • Here is an extract from his last speech.

  • Here is a Video about the official announcement of his death.

He remains an enduring symbol of hope for peace.

Rabin's legacy endures as the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the sole prime minister to be assassinated, and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol.

Rabin married Leah Schlossberg and had two children. Like most of the ruling class of that time, Rabin was a secular national embracing a Jewish identity (more details).



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