1999 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Assassinated

 

On November 4, Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's Prime Minister was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right- wing Israeli opponent of the peace process. Rabin was succeeded by his Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres. An election in May 1996 saw Peres defeated by oppposition party chief Benjamin Netanyahu, who was pledged to slowing the peace process. It is widely accepted that Peres' defeat came about as a direct result of a wave of Palestinian bombings which claimed many Israeli lives.

On November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing opponent of the policy of relinquishing territories to the Palestinians. The assassination came after months of incitement against Rabin by the right wing who opposed the Oslo Accords. Some of the far right Rabbis who lived in the West Bank stated that Rabin was a traitor, and the laws of traitor applied. On the night of November 4, 1995 Rabin attended a rally in support of Peace in the public square in front of Tel Aviv City Hall. As he was leaving Yigal Amir a religious student at Bar Ilan University came up to him and shot him in the back. He died shortly after. Leaders from all around the world attended his funeral.

 

Shimon Peres succeeded Rabin, whose funeral was attended by many world leaders, including a number from the Arab world.Ê To capitalize on his high ratings in early polls, Peres decided to move the date of the next elections forward. On February 11, 1996, Peres announced that elections would take place that May. This announcement came less then a month after Israel successfully killed a leading Hamas bomb-maker. In a short period between in the end of February and the beginning of March, four suicide bombings took place, killing dozens of Israelis. Peres' support began to quickly evaporate, in spite of an impressive international conference convened in Sharm el Sheik that representatives from 27 nations attendedincluding Arab delegates who came to show their support for the peace process.

On May 29, in the first Israeli election to feature direct voting for Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, running on a platform opposing the peace process, defeated Shimon Peres by a margin of under 30,000 votes.