by Beth El Publicity
The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Orthodox Jew Yigal Amir 20 years ago this November remains the single most consequential event in the country’s recent history. This is the premise of a brand new book, Killing a King, by author Dan Ephron.
To mark the 20th anniversary, Ephron will be a guest speaker Monday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m. at Beth El Synagogue. Book sales and a book signing will take place during a dessert reception immediately following his talk. His appearance is free and open to the entire community.
At the time, Ephron was the Jerusalem bureau chief for Newsweek magazine, and he covered both the rally where Rabin was assassinated and the subsequent murder trial.
“The idea that an Israeli or fellow Jew would take this action was unthinkable for the time,” Ephron said during a recent promotional tour.
“I get asked all the time, ‘Was it planned?’ The answer is yes; meticulously, over a two-year period. His assassin stalked him at numerous events leading up to the fateful day.”
“The cruel irony is that Israel remains divided today over the very issues Rabin chose to embrace,” he commented.
Ephron posits that Rabin’s assassination fundamentally altered the trajectory for both Israel and the Palestinians.
Killing a King relates the parallel stories of Rabin and Amir over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one plotted political deals he hoped would lead to peace and the other plotted murder.
Writing from the perspectives of both Rabin, the statesman and Amir, the murderer, the book cleverly relates the death of Rabin to the Israel of today, from the paralysis in peacemaking to the fraught relationship between current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.
Rabin, a former general who led the army in the Six-Day War of 1967, embraced his nemesis, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, and set about trying to resolve the twentieth century’s most vexing conflict. Ephron reports in detail how extremists on both sides undermined the peace process with ghastly violence. And he reconstructs the relentless scheming of Amir, a 25-year-old law student and Jewish extremist who believed that Rabin’s peace effort amounted to a betrayal of Israel and the Jewish people.
Publisher’s Weekly called Killing a King, “the best account to date of Rabin’s assassination and its aftermath.”
“I like to think of Rabin as a man of firsts,” Ephron said, “He was the first native born Israeli to become Prime Minister, the first Israeli leader to embrace Palestinians and attempt to resolve their conflict, including shaking hands with Yassir Arafat and, of course, he was the first Prime Minister to be assassinated.”
Washington Post Pulitzer prize winning writer Glenn Frankel said, “Ephron’s authoritative account is both a sharply etched political thriller and a meditation on all that has gone wrong in the Promised Land.”
Killing a King, scheduled for release next month, offers in the author’s own words, “The parallel stories of Rabin’s drive for peace with the Arabs and Amir’s mission to stop him.”
“One can’t help but wonder what Israel would look like today had Rabin lived,” he said.
There is perhaps no better time to examine the recent history of Israel with someone who lived it and now wrote about it. Don’t miss this opportunity to mark a noted anniversary with author Dan Ephron.
Books will be available for purchase at Ephron’s appearance. For more information contact Margie Gutnik, Beth El Synagogue Program Director at 402.492.8550.