Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

Yithaz Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922. He studied at Kandoorie Agricultural High School and joined the army on the outbreak of the Second World War. This included taking part in sabotage operations in Lebanon and Syria.

The Jewish state of Israel was established on 14th May 1948 when the British mandate over Palestine came to an end. The neighbouring Arab states refused to recognize Israel and invaded the country on the 15th May. Rabin fought in the war and represented the Israeli Defence Forces when the armistice was signed in March 1949.

Rabin studied at Camberley Staff College in England and in 1964 became Chief of Staff and led the Israeli armed forces in the Six-Day War. The Israeli army reached the Suez Canal and the west bank of the Jordan river on 7th June. Over the next three days the Israelis captured the Golan Heights and territory in Syria. The Israelis also gained control over the West Bank of Jordan and the 600,000 Arabs living in that area.

Rabin served as ambassador to the United States (1968-73) before replacing Golda Meir as leader of the Labour Party in 1974.

Menachem Begin appointed Rabin as his Defence Minister in his coalition government in 1984. The following year he withdrew Israeli troops from occupied Lebanon.

In 1992 Rabin became prime minister. He favoured Palestinian self-government. In 1993 Rabin and Shimon Peres negotiated a peace agreement with Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization. This involved Israelis withdrawing from Jericho and the Gaza Strip. As a result the three men shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

Rabin's policies were unpopular with some sections of the population and on 4th November 1995 he was assassinated by a Israeli extremist while attending a peace rally in Tel Aviv.