The Nobel Peace Prize 1994
Born: 1 March 1922, Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
Died: 4 November 1995, Tel Aviv, Israel
Residence at the time of the award: Israel
Role: Prime Minister of Israel
Prize motivation: “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East”
Prize share: 1/3
From Armed Force to Reconciliation
Yitzhak Rabin was the soldier who became Prime Minister of Israel in 1992, and who abandoned the use of force in favor of negotiations to achieve peace with the Palestinians. He approved the Oslo Accords, negotiated in secret in Norway in 1993. Israel was to withdraw gradually from occupied territories and to grant the Palestinians self-determination. The agreement was signed in Washington the same year, and in 1994 Rabin shared the Peace Prize with his own Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Rabin was born in Jerusalem. During World War II he fought on the British side to prevent German conquest of the Middle East. After the war he fought against the Brits because they were preventing Jewish immigration into Palestine. Rabin took part in the war against the Arabs when the state of Israel was founded in 1948, and wound up as army chief of staff. In the 1970s he embarked on a political career, and competed with Shimon Peres for the top posts in the Labour Party.
Some Jews saw the Oslo Accords as a betrayal, and Rabin was assassinated by a religious fanatic in the autumn of 1995.