Childhood and family

Childhood and family

Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem on March 1, 1922. His parents, Rosa Cohen and Nehemia Rabin, were among the pioneers of the Third Aliyah. Nehemia worked for the Palestine Electricity Corporation and Rosa worked as a bookkeeper, but they expended most of their efforts on their volunteer and public activities. Rosa held senior positions in the Haganah, the Tel Aviv Municipality, the Histadrut – the workers’ union - and the educational system, and was known in the Yishuv – the Jewish community - as "Red Rosa". Nehemia was also active in the Haganah and Histadrut. 

In 1923 the family moved to Tel Aviv where Rabin spent his childhood, and where, in 1925, his sister Rachel was born. When he was 15 his mother died of an illness.

At his parents house he absorbed  values that guided him throughout his life.


The school years

In 1928 Rabin enrolled at the Educational Center for Workers' Children in Tel Aviv, an institution that was to become his second home. The school set itself the goal of molding the identity of the Israeli Sabra - the new Jew, rooted to the landscapes of Israel, working its land, defending it from marauders and ready to enlist for any mission. The school emphasized the integration of studies, work, hiking and social activities. 

Activities with the Noar Ha'Oved Ve Ha'Lomed – (Working and Studying Youth) - were a central facet of the students' life; through the movement Rabin learned about the theories of the Jewish Socialists and prepared himself for life on a Kibbutz. 

Agricultural studies were a natural progression from his schooling at the Educational Center for Workers' Children. He went on to study for two years at the Regional Agricultural School at Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha, and then, in 1937, he reached his desired destination - The Kadouri Agricultural School in Kfar Tabor to which the elite of the agricultural settlement movement sent their children. At Kadouri, Rabin met Yigal Allon who would later enlist him into the Haganah, and a deep friendship developed between the two. Kadouri was renowned for its high standards and for the unique atmosphere that existed between students and teachers. Rabin's talents soon stood out and he matriculated with high grades. He could have continued on to university,  but then the Second World War broke out and as fears grew about the war's possible effect on the Yishuv, Rabin gave up his plans and joined Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan. 

In May 1941, Rabin was called upon to take part in a military operation in Lebanon aimed at helping out the British army. It was his baptism of fire.