|Directed by:||Ben Shani||Rating:||TV-PG|
|Release Date:||2004||Running Time:||45 mins.|
|Language:||Hebrew (subtitled) & English||Genre:||Documentary|
|More Info:||Wikipedia||Category:||Hist & Rem|
Before he was heralded with a Nobel Peace Prize, Yitzhak Rabin inspired Israeli rioters to chant, “Rabin is a traitor” and produce inciting political literature with the prime minister’s face on an SS officer’s uniform. Rabin: Part 2 tracks Rabin’s fluctuating popularity as he sank to the bottom of his career and then rose to be internationally celebrated.
“You make peace with your enemies — not the Queen of Holland,” Rabin said, responding to criticism of his negotiations with Yasser Arafat. The controversial peace talks dominated Rabin’s later political career, separating his supporters from his critics.
Rabin: Part 2 follow the politician from an upsetting mid-career lull, to the height of his popularity, ending with his shocking assassination at the apex of his political life. When Rabin’s wife was put on trial for having an illegal American bank account, he felt forced to resign as Prime Minister. Out of office, he published his memoirs, which, highly critical of fellow Leftists, made him exceedingly unpopular. He had hoped his book would boost his popularity, but it had the opposite effect. His shyness, which made him seem cold and aloof, only made matters worse. Rabin was convinced that his days of political prestige were behind him. But, thanks to his wife’s unwavering support and his own determination, Rabin worked his way back up the political ranks to find himself once again Israel’s Prime Minister and awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.
When all seemed lost, Rabin’s wife Leah would say, “Don’t worry, He’ll be Prime Minister again.” Annoyed and disheartened, Rabin would respond, “Woman, stop talking nonsense.” He had lost hope, but she never did. Close family friends confide in the film that Leah played a crucial role in Rabin’s political success. Her charisma in dealing with the media and her unwavering support of her husband charmed a country. As time passed, Rabin’s public image changed, and he came to be seen as a warrior who was prepared to compromise for peace but would never compromise Israel’s autonomy and strength.
The most touching and surprising part of this compelling biography is the reconciliation between Rabin and fellow Leftist Shimon Peres. After decades spent insulting each other, Rabin and Peres set aside their differences, and became a model of cooperation for the sake of the greater good. Though they had been working towards the same goals for their party, they would come at them from different angles, inevitably offending one another and dividing the party. All this would change after Rabin was re-elected Prime Minister. “If you enter the peace process you won’t have a more loyal friend than me,” Peres told Rabin after the latter took office, adding “But if you don’t enter the peace process you won’t have a more bitter rival.” As it happened, Rabin appointed Peres to be in charge of the peace negotiations and the two shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
Rabin: Part 2 paints a picture of a leader who never shied away from violence but worked diligently to promote peace, despite the criticism he received for it. When suicide bombers broke out in Israel, in response to the peace talks between Arafat and Rabin, Rabin insisted on being at the scene immediately to witness the horrors first-hand. He was not afraid to confront violence, but wanted a future for Israel that didn’t revolve around bloodshed. Just before his untimely death, Rabin’s secret peace negotiations with Jordan’s King Hussein were announced to the public and his plan for peace with Yasser Arafat was about to be enacted.
After a lifetime dedicated to fighting for Israel, it’s the ultimate offense that, at the end of a peace rally, an Israeli took Rabin’s life. He had refused to wear a bullet-proof vest despite death threats, explaining to his political advisors that after surviving war he should feel safe walking with civilians in the streets. The great irony that his assassination wrought speaks to the tragedy that an Israel at war continues to face.
While one awful man brought to a halt a great life and a peace process, Rabin showed in death his continual ability to inspire. At his funeral, leaders from around the globe came to mourn Rabin’s loss: Jordan’s King Hussein declared him “a colleague and friend” while President Bill Clinton announced he was “in awe of” Rabin and that he “loved” the fallen warrior and peace-maker.
In the end, Rabin’s biography is a study in the history of Israel. His death on the precipice of peace means that his assassination is a study in what was to come.