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The Yitzhak Rabin Center

This is an exhausting museum! Over 2 to 3 hours you are led through the life of the leader Yitzhak Rabin in the military and in the government, and this is linked to important military and social events in Israel. This overview is brilliant and inspiring. This center as one of the most, if not the most, engaging museum in Israel. Time passes without even noticing it.  

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Directions and parking: Enter “Yitzhak Rabin Center” into Waze. The center is in Chaim Levanon Street. For parking enter “Muza Parking Lot” on Chaim Levanon Street or “Rokach Blvd 80 Parking” on Rokach Boulevard.

Public transport: Enter “Yitzhak Rabin Center” into Moovit.

Admission: The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. It is closed on Shabbat. The box office closes 1½ hours before closing time. Admission is 50 NIS and 25 NIS for seniors. You are provided with an audio-guide that can be in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Russian or Arabic. There is no cafeteria, but there is a room with chairs and tables that provides snacks and hot and cold drinks from vending machines. Before you leave, go to the large balcony with a view over Tel Aviv. It is advised to pre-book your visit by calling *4585 or 03-745 3333, or by email or Prebooking is not always necessary. This is their website.

Time: Recommended is 2 hours, but the average is 3½ hours.

Oslo Accords.jpeg

The famous shaking of hands with Yasser Arafat in the White House.

The exhibition begins and ends with his assassination. You begin as a participant in the mass peace rally at Kings of Israel Square (now Rabin Square) in Tel Aviv where he was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a law student and right-wing extremist opposed to the Oslo Accords. You end by listening to obituaries from family members and world leaders at his funeral.


Rabin is unabashedly and rightfully presented as a model of devoted leadership in the fields of security for Israel, civil society, democracy, and the quest for peace.


The format of this museum is brilliant. There is an inner circle that presents the life of Rabin and this is interspersed with side-chambers that present the events of that period. You are provided with an audio guide. You do not have to do anything except continue walking as it is sensor-activated. The audio is linked into the description on the wall (but is not a repeat of it). It provides music and speeches, often by Rabin himself. It is a total experience, aided by 1,500 still photographs and almost 200 short documentary films.


The contents of the museum are self-explanatory and need no elaboration. However, a timeline is useful for putting everything together.

P refugees.jpeg

The Center deals fairly with the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

The farewell to Rabin.jpeg

This is the final room commemorating the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.

The Oslo Accords


Understandably, there is no discussion in the exhibits of Yitzhak Rabin’s crowning achievement, the Oslo Accords. Rabin spent 27 years as a military person, from the very beginnings of the Israel Defense Forces, first as a member of the Palmach. His quest for peace was a personal crusade, as it was for every Israeli politician in the Labor Party at that time. It was based on the assumption that peace with the Palestinians was a political issue and should therefore be ameniable to a political solution.  


Almost 30 years later it is possible to ask why the Oslo Accords did not bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What went wrong?


The Israelis reached out to the leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, in Tunisia, and this led to mutual recognition. In a letter sent to Rabin, Arafat renounced violence and officially recognized Israel. That same day, Rabin sent a letter to Arafat officially recognizing the PLO. The Oslo Accords led to the creation of the Palestinian National Authority, which was an important step towards Palestinian self-determination. As part of the agreement, Israel withdrew its forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and transferred control to the Palestinian Authority. A framework for future negotiations was also established and a timeline for future talks on critical issues such as borders, refugees, security and Jerusalem.

However, extremists opposed to the peace process, namely Hamas and Islamic Jihad, continued to perpetuate violence and terrorism. The assassination of Rabin and subsequent political shifts in Israel and Palestine hindered further progress. Important issues dividing the two sides were never resolved. This would lead to the Second Intifada, a period of intense violence from 2000 to 2005. All this led to a further breakdown of trust between the two sides.

A generous explanation from the perspective of the Palestinians for the failure of Oslo to bring about a final peace agreement was that Israel was never prepared to make enough concessions to satisfy the Palestinians, particularly with respect to the Palestinian refugees. Understandably, Israel believes that the return of refugees would lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state and probably the end of Israel. A less generous explanation is that Yasser Arafat never intended to make the concessions necessary for a Two-State Solution at peace with Israel.


This explanation holds that since the time of the first Arab riots in the 1920s under the leadership of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Husseini, a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood, many Palestinians have held that Jews have no place in the Middle East. They believe that Palestine has always been Islamic and this cannot change. The conflict between the Palestinians and Jews is as much a religious conflict (on both sides) as a nationalistic one. Nationalist struggles are open to compromise. Religious struggles are not.


Yasser Arafat and his PLO were in a challenging situation prior to Israel reaching out to them The PLO was expelled from Jordan after the Black September conflict in 1970 and relocated to Lebanon. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the PLO leadership was forced to move again, this time to Tunis in Tunisia. Arafat’s agreement to the conditions of the Oslo Accords gave the PLO and the Palestinians a new lease of life in their struggle against Israel. Yasser Arafat’s mission had always been to free Palestine from the Jews and this was not about to change. If all that was needed were some letters, this is what he would do.


A final peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians will need generations to accomplish. This is why Rabin’s Labor Party is now only a small political party, no longer in the government, and a Two State Solution is favored by only a minority of Israelis and Palestinians.

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