By: Michael Eisenberg  | 

Rabin Champions Israeli “Peace And Security” In Y.U. Address (Vol. 58, Issue 11)

Under tight security and much pomp and circumstance, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin affirmed his commitment to the Middle East peace process and the notion of “peace and security,” in his address to 1200 students and benefactors in Lamport Auditorium. At the close of the program, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Ludwig Jesselson, whom Rabin called a personal friend, presented the Prime Minister with YU’s Second Century Award.

Throughout the March 18 speech, Rabin praised YU for its commitment to Jewish education, stating, “I came to bring respect and admiration to your institution. Jewish education is the means to maintain the Judaism of the Jewish people.”

An Honorary Mac

Prior to Rabin’s address, YCSC President Avi Steinlauf, who offered greetings in Hebrew, presented Rabin - an avid tennis player - with a Yeshiva Maccabees warm-up sweatshirt, evoking a chorus of laughter and applause from the audience. On behalf of the Student Council, Steinlauf also anointed Rabin an honorary Mac.

Rabin opened by offering a historic retrospective, invoking memories of the Holocaust and the founding of the Jewish state, leading up to his remarks about the peace process. Evaluating future aliya prospects, Rabin stated, “I believe that in a short time there will be no more Jews in any country other than Israel, including this country.”

No American Soldiers

Vaguely alluding to specifics about peace negotiations, the Prime Minister claimed, “I was asked on Capitol Hill: If we agreed to certain proposals, would we want U.S. soldiers? I told them, we are proud - even though we are a small country - we have never asked any American soldier to shed a drop of blood for Israel. We can do it alone and we have proved it, and if need be we'll do it again.”

Rabin commented that when we chose lsrael as the home for the Jewish State, “we also chose who our neighbors would be: 120 million Arabs and 70 million Muslims.” He said, “It might take time. I would like to be able to look at the fathers and mothers of Israeli soldiers and say with confidence, if we have to engage in war it is because the government has tried to achieve peace...and it will be the Arabs' fault that we didn’t.” 

A Democratic Country

At the end of the address, a number of students hoisted a banner which has been following Rabin around Israel. The banner exclaimed, “Katyushas in the Galilee, Peace with the Golan.” As security personnel rushed to remove the protestors, Rabin urged, “we are a democratic country and demonstration is allowed, as long as it is done quietly.” The protestors were permitted to remain in the auditorium for the rest of the program.