Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin (William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History)

Twenty-five years after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, the Nov. 10, 1995, issue of the JN remains an outstanding, in-depth package of local, national and international reporting about a historic — and horrific — event.

Twenty-five years ago, on Nov. 4, 1995, Jews in Detroit experienced a huge shock. The prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, had been assassinated. The death of Rabin at the hands of a deranged Israeli university student reverberated around the world. 

Locally, the Jewish community had not witnessed such an outpouring of grief since the beloved Rabbi Morris Adler was gunned down on the bimah of Shaarey Zedek during Shabbat services by a mentally ill young man in 1966, or perhaps, three years earlier, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Rabin’s death was felt personally by many Detroit Jews. He had longstanding relationships with local community leaders and, over the years, thousands of local Jews had traveled to Israel where they were warmly welcomed by Rabin. Regardless of whether one agreed with his policies or not, Rabin was the prime minister of Israel. He was a sabra, a soldier and a war hero, who became a statesman and, in 1995, was a victim of extremely divisive politics in Israel.

Looking Back

One only needs to visit the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History and read the Nov. 10, 1995, issue of the JN to see the impact of Rabin’s death on the local Jewish community. It has 25 pages of stories from local, national and international reporters about the effects of the assassination. Only one other person received the same amount of ink in an issue of the JN: the legendary Detroiter Max Fisher on March 3, 2005, upon his passing.

Looking Back

The JN’s coverage of Rabin’s assassination is breathtaking. It began with reactions from local Jews: Where were they when they heard the news? Larry Wolfe had just come home and decided to check on the Michigan-Michigan State football game on TV. Anna Friedman was on her way to a wedding when she heard a report on the radio, and Wayne State University student Julie Galazan had just settled in to watch a movie.

Looking Back

Other stories covered the reactions of Americans and Detroiters, as well as the feelings and sense of loss among Israelis themselves. There were numerous quotes from prominent Americans. Jennifer Finer wrote an article, “Hillel Students Discuss Their Emotions, Loss.” A story reported that former Ambassador to Norway and Detroit Jewish leader David Hermelin visited Israel shortly after the event and found the entire nation walking around in a dream-like state.

Looking Back

The issue also has images that show the interactions between Rabin and local Jews. Jane Sherman and Larry Jackier appear in a photograph breaking bread with Rabin in Israel. In another photo, JN staff writer Ruth Littmann, who had reported on the Miracle Mission II in Israel, is shown with Rabin.

Twenty-five years after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, the Nov. 10, 1995, issue of the JN remains an outstanding, in-depth package of local, national and international reporting about a historic — and horrific — event. It is a compelling read that still stands as a fitting memorial to one of Israel’s great leaders, and as a testimony to the tragic results when divisive politics foster extreme acts of violence.  

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

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