Remembering Rabin, z”l

Remembering Rabin, z”l

What are the moments in your life that you wonder, “what would have been if…?”

On Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, we’re thinking about this powerful question at the heart of HaDag Nachash’s song.

On Saturday night, November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated following the largest peace rally in Israeli history. This horrific and traumatic event dramatically altered the course of Israeli politics and history.

Twenty-five years later, Israel faces formidable challenges. The pandemic, a prolonged political crisis, and the economic downturn have both exposed and deepened the divisions within Israeli society.

In a recent address in the Knesset plenum, Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, implored:

“This is the time for attentive leadership, where the truth and the facts are its only guiding lights — brave, responsible, ethical, working for all people. Leadership that understands that connection and partnership between the different parts of this country are the guarantees for success in this national mission of ours today.”

Rabin’s leadership was contested often in his life. Some people regarded him as a hero and a savior, while others saw him as a threat and a traitor.

Yet when we look at his actions, his leadership, and how he paved a path toward hope and reconciliation, and when we look at where we are today, we can’t help but wonder “what would have been if…”.

That’s the title of a song released five years ago by the popular Israeli funk/hip hop band, HaDag Nachash, for Rabin Memorial Day.


Here is our translation to English, officially endorsed by the band:

The past we know, some of us even remember
How a few moments after the end of the speeches
We were all as one fixed to the receivers
Until the message reached our ears – and left us without words or utterance
And with a slightly bashful glance we were sucked back into the cycle
Of wounded and licking and wounded and flogging – like a wave

But you should know, that there are moments
When I see high above the Cypress trees
And above the heads of my exhausted People
A bubble floats and inside three words:
“What would have been if?”

The present is known with no need to expand
How it drains and shakes how it pressures with no quiet
And how every winter we race after the left-overs of the left-overs
Because maybe in the summer we’ll be running to the bomb-shelters

But know that there are moments
In which I see high above the Cypress trees
And above the heads of my exhausted People
A floating tear and inside three words:
“What would have been if?”

And our untrustworthy future what does it have in store
What more can it bury
Your Six Days blossomed a hundredfold
And nowadays not only we declare victory
And to think that you had the courage to change
And to think you knew how to plant hopes
And to think that you raised up to fly and went far enough to see
And to think that you managed to understand:

“What would be if…?”


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