One Saturday night in late 1995, I was with a few other 18-year-olds at a kibbutz in northern Israel, watching a Hebrew B-movie called “Lemon Popsicle” on TV. Words began scrolling urgently at the bottom of the screen, a news flash: The prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, had been shot at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Soon the movie winked off, newscasters took over, and we learned that Rabin was dead. Israelis are used to instability and sudden tragedy, but nothing like this had ever happened, and the country was plunged into grief and discord. I remember being crushed in a crowd of tens of thousands filing past Rabin’s coffin in Jerusalem a day or two later, the crowd so big I never actually saw the coffin. Hanging over it all was a sense that something significant had changed for the worse — a sense that lingers 20 years later.
That moment, on Nov. 4, 1995, is the subject of Dan Ephron’s “Killing a King.”