November 4, 2006
David Grossman now speaks. With his fellow top-Israeli writers, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, he spoke against the Lebanon war. Then his son was killed. What a paradoxical tragedy.
Now he speaks as one of many in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed this day, 11 years ago.
His words strike deep – he is devastated at what has happened these 60 years or so. His words are very left-wing, very critical against the current government.
There was so much hope, so much goodwill. And now we have slipped back into a trough so much deeper than our optimistic start.
So many contributors here at Rabin Square. We wanted to go, be there with them. But here at home, we have a better view – and I can write this.
Now she who lost her brother in Lebanon. She sings her own song ‘A thousand Stars’.
Our new ‘Pop Idol, sings another song from the heart, backed by a harp. Many strings are pulled tonight.
One of our greatest actors speaks of a sleeping hope that Rabin did not die in vain.
(All the time, the inset shows the sign language translation. The hands touch the heart and the underlying soul every few seconds. For this is an evening for deep reflection).
Achinoam Nini, better known as Noa, is one of our top singers, having attained international fame. Her song stretches those heart strings. Just a piano backs her. Very soft.
This is a decent country, suffering. After 2000 and 58 years of almost constant attacks, oppression, persecution and hate, it tries to stand up with the same pride that every country shows and deserves. Acting normally, reacting normally, it is criticised for fighting aggression with aggression – with the same soul that fed those 2000 and 58 years.
Solving the problem in this area will only prove that this is not the problem. The David Grossmans of this World can demand as much as they want. The left side of me thinks as he does. But do ‘they’ really want peace? Did they ever? Will their powers-that-be allow the moderates to make peace with these Jewish non-believers and infidels? Where is their Mandela who could perhaps lead them down the path of real peace?
Extended and enthusiastic applause for Grossman from over 100,000 on the square.
‘Ein Li Eretz Acheret’ – I have no other country. A song, a plea: Can’t you leave us alone even in this tiny spot?
I wish you were here, watching with me as I write these words. You’d see a side of Israel that so few refuse to even admit exists.
This is not a country which wants war, only one which reluctantly and repeatedly has to rise from the stage of progress to defend itself. It has had to do so time and time again. Once we were cheered from our quick victories. Now we are criticised when we battle against ever-cleverer and more determined adversaries. Would ‘getting rid of the problem’ in 6 days bring back our popularity? How can we do right by this world’s standards?
If you’re going to die, then die at the pinnacle of your career. The actor on the stage, the runner at the winning line. Rabin did, and we are nowhere nearer peace. You died in vain, Yitzhak. Many even call for your killer’s release. Shall we ever learn?
‘Shalom Chaver’. Words immortalised by Clinton. ‘Goodbye, Friend’. The first song written in his memory. Always brings up lumps.
Now daughter Dalia speaks. Continue what he started; never give up the fight for peace.
The crowd sings with the singer. Everyone knows the words of many of the songs. This is a small country, tight-knit. A deeply-felt song is everyone’s song.
The MC asks us not to give up on peace. There WILL be peace.
Aviv Geffen was at Rabin’s side when he sang so out-of-tune on this very same square. This Prince-like singer, from one of Israel’s leading artistic families, sings again the song written then in Rabin’s memory. ‘…like the waves that fall on life…be strong up there’. The crowd is swaying with him.
Now his new song. ‘Let’s bury the guns and not the children…let’s try….until it works’.