Israel | Local

Rabin’s legacy, leadership topic for Pozez talk

Itamar Rabinovitch

More than two decades have passed since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, yet he remains an intriguing and admired modern leader. Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovich will speak about his recent biography of Rabin in an upcoming lecture in Tucson, Tuesday, March 13.

“I’ll focus around the biography of Rabin that was published last year, but not just the book.  Many issues in the book are relevant today, but not in a positive way,” Rabinovich recently told the AJP from his home in Tel Aviv.

His book, “Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman” is called an insider’s perspective on the life and influence of Israel’s first native-born prime minister, his peace initiatives, and his assassination. Author of more than a dozen other historical, political books, Rabinovich says, “This book is my most personal. I worked with him (Rabin) and knew him very well. Writing the book was a labor of love.”

It is an account of Rabin’s life, character, and contribution, drawing on original research and the author’s recollections as one of Rabin’s closest aides. He provides insights into Rabin’s relationships with world leaders including Bill Clinton, Jordan’s King Hussein, and Henry Kissinger; his desire for an Israeli-Syrian peace plan; and the political developments that shaped his tenure. Rabinovich also assesses the repercussions of Rabin’s murder; Benjamin Netanyahu’s ensuing election as prime minister, and the rise of Israel’s radical right wing.

An Israeli ultra-national extremist assassinated Rabin in 1995 as he was trying to resolve the Palestinian issue and withdraw from the West Bank. “The assassination did not end the Palestinian issue, but it dealt a deadly blow,” says Rabinovich. “A line was crossed . . .  this was the first time an Israeli prime minister had been killed by an Israeli Jew. This kind of radicalism or incitement to hurt opponents has become more rampant in domestic politics.”

Rabin’s life also raises a question of leadership and statesmanship in the world today, says Rabinovich. “There are a lot of questions about leadership, obviously in the U.S., but also in Western Europe. Leadership and statesmanship are lacking. For that reason, the book is now being translated into Serbian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, German and other languages. The interest is not because of the story, but because of the man who proved to be a strong leader.”

Rabinovich is a frequent visitor to Tucson. “I have strong relations with the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and have spoken, on most visits, at the university or in public lectures.” This month’s lecture is a part of the center’s 20th Anniversary Shaol and Louis Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series 2017-2018. The series has a national and international reputation for its history of distinguished lecturers. Other event sponsors include the Pozez Family Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Tucson Jewish Community Center and Tucson University Park Hotel.

Free and open to the public, the event starts at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. For more information, call 626-5758 or visit