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Our Israeli Shaliach, and Remembering Rabin

Today’s post is from Mark Raoul Molnar, Israeli Shaliach (emissary) to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. You can contact him at shaliach@jewishphilly.org.

For those of you that have not met me yet, My name is Raoul, and I am the Israeli Shaliach at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. What is a shaliach? Shaliach means emissary; I came to the community from Israel through the organization, the Jewish Agency For Israel. I will spend a couple of years here in Philly, and my goal is Israel engagement that will lead to community engagement. I strongly believe that we, the Jewish people, are one nation that currently has two big and strong centers, one in Israel and one in North America. Between those two centers there is a bridge, and it is our responsibility to maintain it and make sure it will get stronger and bigger. The way to do it is by education and by experiences.

Today, I want to share with you something educational, an event that changed the Israeli society and some will say broke it. The impact of that event that happened 21 years ago, has remain until those days.

Last week was the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin was the 6th and the 11th Prime minister of Israel. He was born in Jerusalem, excelled in school and was offered a full scholarship to Berkeley university to study water engineering, but instead he stayed in Israel to fight for the state we have today. Rabin joined the Haganah and then the IDF. He was promoted until he became the chief of staff of the IDF and served as the chief of staff during the Six Days War. After his service, Rabin went into politics so he could make a difference. He strongly believed in peace, and I quote him: “I believe that it is my responsibility as the prime minister of Israel to do whatever can be done to exploit the unique opportunities that lie ahead of us to move towards peace.”
Rabin signed the Oslo agreement, and I want to encourage you all of you to read more about this agreement. This agreement brought the Israeli society to a clashing point. And this agreement changed the entire political map between the Palestinian and the Israelis. Unfortunately, this peace process was stopped by one person who decided to take things into his own hands and he fired 3 shots and killed Yitzhak Rabin, while he was at a rally for peace in the center of TLV.

So far I spoke about Rabin, but this day from my point of view is not about Rabin the person, it is about tolerance for one for another. It’s about learning to disagree and more importantly how to disagree. It’s about teaching the current and next generation that every person has an opinion and we owe it to them to listen to all of them with respect. Prior to the murder of Rabin, there was a lot of incitement in the society. That incitement is just as bad as the murder itself.

I strongly believe that even if we totally disagree on some issues regarding Israel, we still agree on one thing. We all care for Israel. And as long as our opinions are coming from caring to the future of Israel, and the future of the Jewish people any opinion is legitimate.

In the past years, the memorial day to Rabin, became a day where every year a huge event took place in TLV. The value that lead this event is YES to Peace and No to violence. This is the most important lesson we should learn and remind ourselves constantly and teach for it.

There is so much more to speak and to discuss regarding this day, its values, its effect on the Israeli society, and its effect on the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. As I said at the beginning, I came to Philly to strengthen the connection between Jews in Philly and Jews in Israel. I have done that in the past 7 years of my life and I have different kind of lectures and workshops. You can check some of them here: https://www.jewishphilly.org/shaliach

Please use me as a resource to Israeli education. All my programs are free. I would love to be part of the community, get to know your congregation and organization. We can discuss how we can work together, if it is a D’var Torah, or a lunch and learn, or a full workshop. Please do not hesitate to contact me.