BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Jeremy Cooke in Jerusalem
"A symbol to those Israelis who shared her dream of peace"
 real 56k

Shimon Peres
"She was brave, intelligent, outstanding"
 real 56k

Senior Palestinian negotiator Abu Ala'a
"She proved that she was a lady of peace"
 real 56k

Ora Namir, friend
"We already miss her very much"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 14 November, 2000, 15:43 GMT
Leah Rabin: Israeli figurehead
Leah Rabin at a state ceremony by her husband's grave in 1998
Leah Rabin campaigned for the peace process
Leah Rabin became a well-known public figure following the assassination of her husband, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995
Mr Rabin was killed on 4 November 1995 by a right-wing Jew opposed to his policy of handing over land for peace.

After his death, Mrs Rabin became involved in campaigning internationally for the peace process that her husband had promoted.

She was admired by many Israelis for her work, but accused by others of keeping open the wounds laid bare by Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.


Leah Rabin was born in the then German town of Koenigsberg (later part of Russia) in 1928 and emigrated to the British mandate of Palestine when she was a young child.

President Clinton and Leah Rabin in 1999
Mrs Rabin counted President Clinton among her friends
She was training to be a teacher in Tel Aviv when she decided to join the Palmach - an elite Jewish commando force fighting the British - and work on the group's newspaper.

She had already met Yitzhak Rabin, who was an officer in the Palmach, and they married during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

In 1974 her husband became the youngest Israeli prime minister, but his coalition crumbled three years later.

Yitzhak Rabin returned to power at the head of a Labour government in 1992.

One year later, he signed the Oslo peace accords with Yasser Arafat, and the two men were awarded the Nobel peace prize, together with Shimon Peres.


Mrs Rabin was at the peace rally where, in 1995, her husband was shot.

After his assassination, she became an outspoken advocate of peace.

Yasser Arafat greets Leah Rabin
Leah Rabin said that Mr Arafat was part of the family
She criticised the then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of creating the violent climate in which her husband was killed.

And she received the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in her home, later telling a German news magazine that he was "part of my family".

In spite of suffering from the lung cancer that eventually killed her, Mrs Rabin campaigned for her husband's peace ideals until the very end.

In September 2000 she criticised Prime Minister Ehud Barak - whom she once saw as Mr Rabin's political heir - for making too many concessions in the peace process.

"I wanted to believe he is continuing along Yitzhak's path. I backed him all along the way. But after a year and a quarter I must confess, a big part of my hopes have been disappointed," she said.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

12 Nov 00 | Middle East
Leah Rabin dies of cancer
04 Nov 00 | Middle East
Leah Rabin in hospital
08 Sep 00 | Middle East
Leah Rabin slams Barak
12 Nov 00 | PROFILES
Profile: Yitzhak Rabin
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories