Sorrow, grief follow Rabin assassination
Jewish administrators and students at the College expressed shock and dismay yesterday about the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Rabin, 73, was assassinated on Saturday, allegedly by an Israeli opponent of Rabin's policies. Rabin was instrumental in Arab-Israeli reconciliation and in 1994 received the Nobel peace prize along with Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Both students and administrators said they thought Rabin's assassination was very ironic considering Rabin strongly wanted peace in the Middle East and was shot at a peace rally.
"The part that's really shocking is that it comes down to a willingness of one Jewish citizen of Israel to kill the democratically elected Prime Minister of Israel to derail the process of making peace," College Rabbi Daniel Siegel said.
Dan Flax '96 said, "I was very shocked and disappointed."
And Shirley Sperling '98, who is originally from Israel, said, "I'm extremely sad. Beside being sad that a great man was killed, I'm appalled that it was a Jew who did it and claims to be religious."
Sperling said her brother lives in Israel and he attended the peace rally with a friend. But she said she had not yet spoken to him because of the time difference between Israel and the United States.
"The whole of Israel is in a lot of shock," she said. "It's hard for me to be here and not be there."
The assassination of Rabin raises many questions about the future of peace efforts in the Middle East.
History Professor Gene Garthwaite, a specialist in the Middle East, said Rabin's assassination will test the strength of the Israeli and Arab peoples' commitment to peace.
"The big question is, 'Where do we go from here?'" he said. "Will the Israeli people support what Rabin worked for? At the moment it's not clear."
Sperling said she was "really worried" about the possible effects of the assassination on the peace process.
Siegel said, "I certainly pray that there will be no linkage between this assassination and the peace process. My hope is that the peace process will continue."
Siegel said Hillel, the College's Jewish student organization, will hold a memorial service for Rabin in Rollins Chapel tomorrow at 7 p.m. He said the service will be open to "everyone who cares about peace in the Middle East."
"We're hoping that a broad cross-section of the campus and the surrounding community will come," Siegel said. He said Hillel has invited the other religious groups on campus to attend.
Sperling said although Hillel is organizing the memorial service, the group "would really like campus-wide support."
Siegel said so far many students have told him, "there was an outpouring of concern for them expressed by their friends and acquaintances."
He said Hillel, by coincidence, had a bagel brunch with the Korean American Student Association Sunday morning and students appreciated the turn-out and support they received there.
"I'm glad that Dartmouth isn't ignoring [the assassination] and I hope that I continue to get this kind of support from the campus," Sperling said.