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Jordanian-born Yitzhak Rabin to Enlist in IDF

February 27, 2014 By:
Viva Sarah Press, ISRAEL21c
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Former United States President Bill Clinton watches as former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former King Hussein of Jordan shake hands during the peace treaty signing in 1994. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.

Yitzhak Rabin was the talk of the news in Israel this past week following the fulfillment of a dream.

Of course, the Rabin in question was not former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995, one year after signing a peace treaty with Jordan. This Yitzhak Rabin was an 18-year-old Jordanian-born teenager who dreamed of gaining Israeli citizenship and the chance to enlist in the IDF.

Yitzhak Rabin Namsy — his full name — was named by his Muslim parents in honor of the prime minister, who was noted for his two terms as leader of Israel’s government, signing the Oslo Accords with the PLO in 1993, and reaching a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. He was also celebrated for his role as IDF chief of staff during the Six Day War.

But following the unusual naming of their son, the family was harassed and forced to flee to Israel. In 1998, they settled in Eilat.

The young Rabin was informally adopted by the prime minister’s widow, Leah Rabin, and granted ‘temporary resident’ status. After she died in 2000, the teen applied for full citizenship. 

“I want to become an officer [in the army], and continue in the path of Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be blessed,” he told a reporter in November. “I want to give back to the state in a way that would make Yitzhak [Rabin] … proud of me. I don’t understand what the problem is here.”

In the end, a lengthy court battle proved successful for the young man. Hebrew newspaper Maariv reported that Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar personally traveled to Eilat to present the 18-year-old with his Israeli identification card.

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