Naomi Tamura is done with empty promises and ready for tangible change
Three years ago, I attended an annual peace rally in Tel Aviv to honor the life and legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, the
fifth Prime Minister of Israel and a tireless champion of peace who was assassinated by the anti-peace extremist,
Yigal Amir, in 1995. Along with friends from my youth movement, Habonim Dror, I stood in pure awe among a sea of
35,000 fellow peace activists. We wore our blue movement shirts, held posters demanding peace and sang Shir
LaShalom - the song Rabin had sung just moments before his assassination. It was the most sobering, yet
electrifying experience I had ever been a part of.
This week, as I prepare to honor the 21st yahrzeit of Yitzhak Rabin, I want more than anything to return to that
moment. Still clear in my memory, my heart simultaneously aches and blossoms when I recall the feeling of being
surrounded by tens of thousands of people, young and old, united by our commitment to peace despite the ongoing
violence and incitement. This experience has inspired me to honor Rabin’s legacy in real ways -- how to spread his
vision for tolerance, freedom and peace, how to help build a shared future for both Israelis and Palestinians based
on these lessons and how to inspire others to join me in doing so.
I am committed to working for peace for several reasons. Next year will mark the occupation’s 50th anniversary. This past week, Netanyahu promised to
“continue to take care of settlements in Judea and
Samaria,” expressing support for the Israeli settlers whose occupation over the West Bank undermines prospects
for peace. The Israeli government has threatened to demolish the
Palestinian village of Susya, and has until November 15th to make a final decision. If they decide to move
forward with demolition, they will be paving space for more illegal Israeli settlements. And Israel, the beautiful country I
called home for nine months after high school, is not living up to its ideals as a just and democratic state- the
ideals that form the backbone of both my relationship to Israel and my Jewish identity.