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Public Silence and Latent Memories

Yitzhak Rabin and the Arab-Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Tamir Sorek

Keywords: COLLECTIVE MEMORY; LATENT NOSTALGIA; PALESTINIANS; SILENCE; YITZHAK RABIN

This article examines how Yitzhak Rabin is remembered by Palestinian citizens of Israel by juxtaposing analysis of references to him in the Arabic press in Israel with analysis of three surveys among Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel from November 1995 until July 2008. The findings suggest the existence of a latent nostalgia for Rabin's second term as prime minister (1992-1995) as a period when being Israeli looked like a realistic option for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Paradoxically, the image of Rabin among the Arab citizens of Israel moved in opposing directions in each of the two spheres of memory examined. At the public level, the extensive and mostly sympathetic attention given by some Arab political actors before 2000 was transformed into silence in the post-2000 period. The individual-based surveys, however, showed that Rabin's image remained salient and the sympathy felt for him even increased.

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