The Reaction of the Youth in Israel to the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

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Abstract

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a political assassin caused shock, disbelief, and deep grief to the Israeli people. Particularly prominent was the reaction of the youth, who gathered in large crowds, at the site of the murder and in other places, and engaged in various mourning behaviors of a ritual nature. This drew the attention of the media in Israel and around the world. A study of approximately 700 teenagers conducted after the assassination examined their emotional reactions, participation in ritualistic mourning activities, and assessments of the reasons for feeling shocked. In all areas, differences were found as a function of gender, and attitudes toward Rabin's peace policy. An attempt was made to explain the youth's behavior in terms of the formation of groups and group identity.

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