Rabin's road: The politics of toponymic commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin in Israel

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Embedded into the language of the landscape and integrated into the routines of everyday life, toponymic commemorations belong to the political geography of public memory. The impact of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination on Israeli society and culture was made apparent in a space-time matrix of public commemorations, which introduced remembrance of the slain Prime Minister into the public sphere. This article focuses on the politics of Rabin's toponymic commemoration, evinced in decision-making procedures at local and national levels of government in various stages of the commemoration project. It expands on toponymic commemoration as a measure of conciliation for a politically divided nation and as an arena where political struggles between Left and Right were waged. The article further elaborates on public criticism of the commemoration project, which was mainly directed against what seemed excessive commemoration and inappropriate naming practices. Focused on the extraordinary circumstances of the political assassination of a head of government, this paper offers insights into how toponymic commemoration in a politically divided society unfolds between a demonstration of national consensus and expression of political conflict. It also directs attention to the question of appropriateness of commemorative naming practices in a democratic society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Critical toponymy
  • Israel
  • Politics of commemoration
  • Yitzhak Rabin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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