Despite the controversial message of unity and reconciliation that drew a slew of criticism in the weeks leading up to the event, the rally marking 22 years since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination took place this evening. Dalia Rabin, the late leader’s daughter, called on the public to attend: “Anyone who wants to remember him (Rabin) and his murder and the circumstances should show up tonight.”

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Thousands took part in a mass rally tonight (Saturday) in honor of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the 22nd anniversary of his assassination. The rally is held annually at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. This year’s, the theme of the evening was “Remember, we are one people.”

The organizers of the event, the Commanders for Israel’s Security movement and Darkenu, were faced with sharp criticism leading up to the rally due to its controversial message of peace and reconciliation. They called on the public to come to Rabin Square “for a powerful demonstration of unity and remembrance. We believe and hope that for one evening, alongside the memory of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, we will succeed in finding the uniting factor among us, despite the divisions. We are one nation and we must struggle together for what is most dear to us- the character, security and future of the State of Israel.”

The invitation to the event was written as follows: “On the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, it is time for us to look to the future, to the Israel we dream of, the Israel we want for our children: An Israel that focuses on that which unites us and makes us stronger, not on our divisions. An Israel that embodies the founding spirit of the state as preserved in the Declaration of Independence. An Israel that is truly a light unto the nations. All of this is possible. We can make it a reality. But only if we choose to act. Once a year, we have the chance to join together, and show the strength and unity of the moderate majority of Israelis.”

Dalia Rabin, the late prime minister’s daughter, addressed the criticism and called on the public to come to the rally: “Dear friends! Come to the square tonight. Not everything that will be said will be acceptable to everyone. We represent different opinions- but anyone who wants to remember him (Rabin) and his murder and the circumstances should show up tonight in the place that three shots were fired into his back- and into our democracy!”

Rabin’s grandson, Yonatan Ben Artzi, also called on the public to attend the commemoration event. “The rally in his memory tonight was not organized by the Rabin family- we remember and choose to embrace and love all of those who want to remember him and what happened that night,” he tweeted on Twitter.

The rally was moderated by Miki Haimovitch, an Israeli television presenter, and many former army officers, politicians and social activists attended. Popular Israeli singers performed on stage with songs of unity, protest and peace.