1992- Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the Second Term of Office

Israel Waits for Rabin

As a citizen, an opposition MK, disengaged from the decision-making centers, Rabin monitored the “Gulf War,” which changed the balance of power in the Middle East. The reaction of the Israeli homefront enhanced his feelings that the Israeli public had tired of wars and was ready to pay the price for peace. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was a primary entity in the anti-Israel activity in the region, he saw as a historic opportunity for advancing peace. In the agreement obtained between the superpowers at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, he viewed this trend as an enhancement. He reasoned that a window of opportunity for peace was created in the new circumstances. Time was of the essence and should be exhausted before nuclear weapons reached the region and would endanger the nation’s existence.

The wave of aliyah from the Soviet Union and the inherent economic potential strengthened his understanding that now Israel could take risks. He knew that courageous leadership was required for this and believed himself capable of the task. After his victory over Shimon Peres in the Labor Party’s primaries, the party engaged in an intensive election campaign. Enjoying his status as a man of his word, “Mr. Security” striving toward peace, who has earned wide-ranging public trust, Rabin led the campaign under the slogan “Israel Waits for Rabin.”

“We are in a period of danger in which unconventional weapons will make their way to the Middle East… Therefore, in the next 7-10 years, we must move the diplomatic process forward.”

Again Prime Minister

The upheaval that returned the Labor Party to power returned Rabin to the prime minister’s office. education, welfare, infrastructures, peripheral communities, and the Arab sector were increased significantly at the expense of the budget for the settlements and the defense budget. The receipt of guarantees from the United States for absorbing Soviet immigrants facilitated the execution of his plans and breathed life into the country’s economy. His support for the economy’s privatization earned him well-earned enthusiasm from the business sector.

Determined to integrate Israel quickly into the era of global reconciliation, lead a bold political course for peace with the neighboring countries and resolve the Palestinian problem, he announced his willingness for territorial concessions. He immediately renewed peace talks with the Palestinians and Syrians that began after the Madrid Conference. He saw the Palestinian issue as the heart of the conflict. Still, when it became clear to him that the discussions with the territories’ representatives in Washington reached an impasse, he advanced the Syrian track, hoping that its existence would also encourage and accelerate progress in the Palestinian track.

His defense policy moved along two parallel tracks. While initiating some relief in the life of the civilian population, he continued an aggressive policy against terrorists and rioters. In an extraordinary move, he decided to deport 415 Hamas members involved in terror attacks. On Katusha rocket attacks in the north, he responded with Operation “Accountability” (which in Hebrew is known as “Mivtza Din VeHeshbon”).

When he was informed of secret peace talks being held in Oslo, he approved their continuation despite his doubts and made them an official communications channel. He approved the addition of the PLO as a party to the agreement only after a Letter of Undertaking from Yassir Arafat on the PLO’s recognition of the State of Israel and its departure from the path of terrorism.

On September 13, 1993, in a festive ceremony on the White House lawn attended by the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, the “Oslo Agreement” was signed. The agreement laid the foundation for a permanent agreement that would include the creation of a Palestinian national entity alongside the State of Israel. The speeches by Rabin and Arafat and their historic handshake constituted the ceremony’s highlight. They became a symbol of hope in Israel and around the world. Alongside the expressions of joy and delight, the agreement caused anxiety because of its inherent risks. It sharpened the dispute between the supporters of the move and its opponents. The settlers led the political and public protests against the agreement. he massacre carried out by a radical Israeli against Muslim worshippers in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron reflected the growing tension in Israeli society. Rabin considered dismantling the Jewish settlement in Hebron but eventually decided against the idea.