"RABIN: Our Life, His Legacy" by Leah Rabin

"RABIN: Our Life, His Legacy"

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A straightforward (and somewhat superficial) account of the life and times of Israel's late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by his widow. Rabin paints an adulatory, one-sided portrait of her husband, chronicling his life as a farmer, general, and statesman, and his many successes. His failures are almost always attributed to others. The author unfairly targets Bar-Ilan University, where Yigal Amir was a student, as the main force behind Amir's assassination of her husband. Although the university is a center of nonideological Orthodoxy, Rabin contends that ""a core of extremist rabbis"" there have led their students to believe that ""the 'holy land' of Judea and Samaria is more holy than the life of the prime minister who was willing to compromise on this land for peace."" She also blames the left for her husband's death, for remaining silent when right-wing protesters camped outside the Rabin home, taunting the couple and comparing them to Nicolae and Elena Ceauescu of Romania. And it was the left's complacency, contends Rabin, that gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his recent victory. ""Why had they not used me more extensively in their campaign?"" she wonders. She glosses over many of the controversies that surrounded the Rabins. She accused President Ezer Weizman of spreading rumors that her husband had a nervous breakdown in the exhausting days preceding the Six-Day War. The illegal bank account she held in America is explained as an ""oversight, an unintentional violation."" And the lifelong rivalry between Rabin and Shimon Peres seems to dissipate in their joint pursuit of the Oslo agreement. The author clearly delights in her contacts with celebrities, and this book takes on a gossipy tone when she alludes to the likes of Henry Kissinger, Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, and Suah Ararat. Always interesting, but this is more of a eulogy than a memoir.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Putnam