Yitzhak Rabin – The Growth of A Leader
By Shaul Webber
“Even before Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, I always saw him as an enigmatic hero,” writes the author Dr. Shaul Weber. This enigma only intensified after his assassination. Rabin’s appearances in the media and the testimony given by those close to him reflected a complexity that could not be ignored. Always surrounded by others, he stood out as an emotionally distant loner. A politician who projected unease with the political norms, and basically a man of integrity and morality, he was nevertheless willing to stray from his ideals in the interests of national security. Despite his undiplomatic image, he became a senior diplomat and national leader.
Rabin, emotionally withdrawn, shy and blunt throughout his formative years, demanded uncompromising perfection from himself and others. Blessed with impressive analytic capabilities, he demonstrated the qualities of leadership, even when not quite ready to assume the onerous mantle of military leadership when that role was forced on him by circumstances beyond his control.
In his early days with the Palmach, Rabin comes across as a man who glorified camaraderie, but who was lonely, shy and unable to communicate. Although he spoke in terms of “we,” he closed himself off from others, putting up barriers of individualism and fastidiousness. Cool and analytic, he paradoxically had a hot temper and was known to speak bluntly, even offensively. However, in the latter years of his life, he learned to better express his feelings and project more warmth.
As an educator and historian, Dr. Webber assumes that every human being is a product of his childhood and upbringing, which offers only partial solutions to the riddle of Rabin’s boyhood, his adolescence, and his painful ordeal as commander of the Harel Brigade during Israel's 1948 War of Independence. Throughout his life, and especially after his death, Rabin was said to be the “salt of the earth.” It appears, however, that in order to earn this noble title, one has to eat a lot of bitter herbs, too. This book is about those bitter herbs.
Each year the president and the prime minister of Israel present prizes – usually to writers – for the best works related to one of each of their predecessors. This year the prize winner for memorizing Yitzhak Rabin was Dr. Shaul Weber for his book The Growth of a Leader, which follows Rabin’s path from childhood through to his youth in the Palmah and subsequently in the army, and sheds fresh light on what influenced Rabin’s growth as a military leader, a diplomat and a political leader.
Shaul Webber was born in Tel Aviv. After his army service, he joined Kibbutz Ha'on nearby the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). When the Six-Day War was over he joined Kibbutz Merom Golan in the Golan Heights, and worked there as an educator and teacher. The author received his B.A. in philosophy and education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an M.A. in education from Haifa University, and his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Today he lives in Ramat Gan and teaches education and history at the Open University. This is Dr. Webber’s third book. His first book, A Blue Shirt on a Black Background, was published in 1998 and describes how the youth movements in Eretz Israel related to the Diaspora during and after the Holocaust. His second book, Mystery Hill, published in 2003, analyzes the famous battle of Ammunition Hill from his personal point of view as a soldier who participated in that terrible bloodshed, as well as from the perspective of a researcher and historian. His recently published book, The Spy Who Was Forgotten, is about Major Max Bennett – one of Israel's most controversial and tragic undercover agents, a brilliant intelligence officer who was recklessly involved by his superiors in the notoriously failed secret operation in Egypt in the early 50s, and who tragically ended his life there in a prison cell.
An English-language eBook edition was published in spring 2013 by Samuel Wachtman's Sons, Inc., CA.)
374 Pages, 15 x 22.5 cm.