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Jewish Leaders: Yitzhak Rabin
By Tammy Schwartz - January 18, 2009


Rabin (Photo: Al Gilbert)
Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem, on March 1, 1922 and in time became the first native born Prime Minister of the State of Israel. His father had immigrated to Israel from the United States and served as a volunteer in the Jewish Legion during the First World War and his mother Rosa Cohen had come from Russia in 1919 and was one of the first members of the Haganah defense organization.

Rabin grew up in Tel-Aviv and attended the Kadoori Agricultural High School where he graduated with distinction. He undertook his practical training at Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan and while he was there Rabin joined the Palmach, the regular fighting force of Haganah. This would be the beginning of a twenty seven year career in Haganah and later the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) culminating with his appointment as IDF Chief of Staff.

His first military operation was in Lebanon where he was part of a Jewish force that assisted an allied invasion of that country but after the war the relationship between Haganah and the British became strained over the issue of Jewish immigration. Like many other Jewish leaders Rabin was arrested by the British in 1946 and held in detention for five months. Upon his release he became the commander of the second Palmach battalion and rose to the position of Chief Operations Officer of the Palmach in October 1947.

Rabin directed Israeli operations in Jerusalem and fought the Egyptian army in the Negev during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He was involved in many famous operations during this war including Operation Danny that captured the cities of Ramle and Lydda and was a large scale operation that involved four IDF brigades.
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