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Tens of Thousands of Israelis Attend Peace Rally


Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in downtown Tel Aviv, Saturday to mark the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Robert Berger reports from VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

The rally took place at the square where Rabin was gunned down by an Orthodox Jew who wanted to stop his handover of biblical territory to the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres, who served as prime minister after Rabin was assassinated, addressed the rally. "Yitzhak, the whole country misses you but your way has not been lost," Peres said. "Peace is closer than we think," he said," and Israel should complete it to preserve Rabin's memory.

Israel is currently involved in peace talks with the Palestinians that could lead to an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. A few days ago, an Israeli security chief warned that these negotiations have infuriated Jewish extremists, who could try again to assassinate an Israeli leader.

So the Rabin anniversary exposes a deep rift in Israeli society. The left wing still accuses the right of creating an atmosphere of incitement that led to the assassination. The same divisions exist today between those who support the concept of land for peace and those who do not.

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