Commemorating narratives of violence: The Yitzhak Rabin memorial day in Israeli schools

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Based on an analysis of ceremonies in thirty Israeli schools, this article focuses on the way in which the Israeli educational system grappled with the problematic narrative of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, a narrative that challenged the system's basic assumptions about commemorative logic. The challenge was met by playing with the narrative's multiple frames of meaning (protagonist, act, and context). Rabin's image and biography were elevated and nearly sanctified, while the assassination itself was individualized and the context in which it occurred was de-politicized and virtually bypassed. Thus, the commemoration of even a problematic narrative of political violence could be held on school premises, where it could meet the challenge of enhancing unity and proud national identity. Even events that are not heroic, even shameful, and which do not enjoy a consensus can be reframed in a consensual manner.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Grants from the Shein Institute and the Eshkol Foundation are gratefully acknowledged. I would like to thank Edna Lomsky-Feder, Daniel Maman, and Zeev Rosenhek for their helpful suggestions. My appreciation is extended to Gerald Cromer and Robin Wagner-Pacifici for their insightful comments. Special thanks to my devoted research assistant Noa Vaisman. An earlier version of this article was presented at a conference on “the Zionist Century” held at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, Sde Boker, June 2000.


  • Commemoration
  • Educational system
  • Israel
  • Memorial ceremonies
  • Narrative of violence

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Bereavement -- Israel
  • Death
  • Education -- Israel
  • Israel -- Social conditions
  • Rabin, Yitzhak -- 1922-1995


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