Rabin's plaque in Ukrainian home town

By Edward Doks in Kiev, March 25, 2010

Yuval Rabin, son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has dedicated a plaque in memory of his grandfather Nechemia in the Ukrainian town in which he was born.

Just a month before he was murdered in November 1995, his father Yitzhak had visited the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and was presented with documents concerning his father's birthplace, Sidorovichi.

Russian-Jewish officials who were present at the ceremony said Yitzhak Rabin had wanted to visit the village - now home to just 272 residents - but could not fit it into his schedule.

According to Eitan Haber, then Yitzhak Rabin's personal assistant, the Prime Minister had been told by the Ukrainian authorities that the town no longer existed.

Now Yuval Rabin has closed a circle of sorts.

During the plaque dedication earlier this month, elderly village residents said they remembered the house in which the late prime minister's father grew up, and the local librarian showed Yuval Rabin a book mentioning his grandfather, who was born in 1886.

"Even today it is not easy to get to this village," which is 100km north of Kiev and very close to the Chernobyl nuclear site, said Yuval Rabin.

"The endless snowy prairies of the Ukraine now make me appreciate my grandfather all the more, for deciding, as a young boy, to rebel against social conventions and get up and immigrate completely alone to the land of Israel. This is Zionism in action," he said.

A monument in memory of Nechemia Rabin (ne Rubitzov) will be dedicated in June, sponsored by Limmud FSU.

Last updated: 10:38am, October 20 2010