Yitzhak Rabin
Making History
Our peoples have chosen us to give them life.” - Yitzhak Rabin
Rabin wins Nobel Peace Prize
WINNING THE PEACE PRIZE - In 1964, Yitzhak Rabin was a grizzled soldier doing his best to help Israel through decades of turmoil. Thirty years later, in 1994, he would share the most renowned award in the world with two men whose life paths had crossed his in ways that were unpredictable to say the least. Rabin would receive only one-third of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. The remainder would go to men who were former rivals or enemies to Rabin, but had come around in a venture for peace that had little to lose but everything to gain.

On December 9, 1994, the Peace Prize was awarded to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat for their roles in paving the way for the Declaration of Principles. Ironically enough, the ceremony took place in Oslo. Rabin was stunned and somewhat flattered by his achievement, but the opportunity to further the nascent peace was something he could not pass up. In his acceptance speech, he gave an address of unrestrained passion and honesty. Speaking candidly from the heart, the accumulated wisdom and experience of seventy years was powerfully evident.

At an age when most youngsters are struggling to unravel the secrets of mathematics and the mysteries of the Bible; at an age when first love blooms; at the tender age of sixteen, I was handed a rifle so that I could defend myself - and also, unfortunately, so that I could kill in an hour of danger.

That was not my dream. I wanted to be a water engineer. I studied in an agricultural school and I thought that being a water engineer was an important profession in the parched Middle East. I still think so today. However, I was compelled to resort to the gun.

I served in the military for decades. Under my command, young men and women who wanted to live, wanted to love, went to their deaths instead. Under my command, they killed the enemy's men who had been sent out to kill us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in my current position, I have ample opportunity to fly over the State of Israel, and lately over other parts of the Middle East, as well. The view from the plane is breathtaking: deep-blue lakes, dark-green fields, dun-colored deserts, stone-gray mountains, and the entire countryside peppered with whitewashed, red-roofed houses.

And cemeteries. Graves as far as the eye can see. Hundreds of cemeteries in our part of the Middle East - in our home in Israel - but also in Egypt, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. From the plane's window, from thousands of feet above them, the countless tombstones are silent. But the sound of their outcry has carried from the Middle East throughout the world for decades. <click here for entire speech>

Yitzhak Rabin