Voices from the field
Meeting Dalia Rabin
“What do you remember about Yitzhak Rabin?” “What is the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin?”
These were the questions that the Goodman Camping Initiative educators and Israeli staff members asked Israelis walking through Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square) in Tel Aviv on Mon, April 8. The answers were typically not about Rabin himself, but were largely about the feelings of Israeli society prior to and after his assassination. Many of the interviewees associated Rabin with hope and peace. He enabled them to imagine a country without tension amongst its neighbors, bringing the fulfillment of a longstanding dream—a dream that was shattered so suddenly in 1995, at the very place of these interviews. Israeli children who were not born during Rabin’s time but learned about him in school sang and began doing a choreographed dance to “Shir LaShalom-Song for Peace,” a song that was sung at the rally moments prior to Rabin’s assassination.
Earlier in the day, we visited the Yitzhak Rabin Center, a museum in Tel Aviv that explores the story of Rabin’s life, intertwining the history and development of the modern state. After walking through the museum, we waited for a surprise guest to discuss Rabin in more depth and provide us with additional insights into his life. When the guest walked into the room, she introduced herself first as Dalia Rabin, the Chair of the museum, and then as Yitzhak Rabin’s daughter.
Dalia spoke of her father’s vision. Even when Rabin served as Chief of Staff of the Six-Day War, she explained, peace was always his goal. She referred to his journal entry the day after the war ended, which stated that Rabin was “taking off his uniform to become ambassador to the United States and to make the fruits of this war into a viable peace.”
The most intriguing part of the discussion was her relationship to Yitzhak, not as a politician or military leader, but as her father. According to Dalia, her father was excellent at separating his career from his private life. He never exposed them to the political world and would not come home and speak about work. The family was forced to step forward into that realm after his assassination, but never before. They were able to get to know him as a human being, a caring father, and a devoted grandfather.
“My father told us, ‘Always tell the truth. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Never lie to me.’” Dalia recalled, “As a two and a half year old, I was forced to admit things I did in kindergarten and had to face the results. My father would say that whoever does things, makes mistakes. If you don’t do anything, you don’t make mistakes. Admit your mistakes the sooner, the better.”
After learning about Rabin through several lenses, the Goodman educators walked away with important lessons and experiences to share with their campers this summer.