Assassinations seem to have always been part of the global leadership history. Dozens of talented leaders were assassinated, with diverse political and economic changes following their death. Many assassinated leaders bear considerable personal and professional similarities. The figures of Julius Caesar and Yitzhak Rabin also have much in common. Both were loved by their peoples, and both sacrificed their lives for the sake of serving the needs of their countries. Both were assassinated, their deaths causing quick changes in the politics, economic, and social lives of their peoples. However, the context in which Julius Caesar had been murdered differed considerably from that, in which Yitzhak Rabin was killed. While Caesar was killed to avoid the creation of monarchy, Rabin suffered because he could not satisfy everyone’s interests in Israel. Nevertheless, both assassinations were the result of strong political fights; they once again confirmed that even the most successful leader could not feel absolutely protected from the risks of violent death.
Julius Caesar remains one of the most prominent figures in the history of politics and leadership. He was well-known for his braveness and readiness to face challenges. “Caesar understood that knowledge and expertise were key to leadership, as well as self-sacrificing and setting a personal example” (Thorne 76). More than once he acted, as if he was equal with his followers. Caesar did not want to enjoy the privilege of being the ruler, and that was one of the main reasons why he was so loved by his people. The history tells a story of Caesar’s giving his bed to a wounded officer, while he himself had to find a different shelter (Thorne 76). He always shared military dangers with his people, and his braveness inspired them to be strong and committed to their land. Needless to say, Caesar’s leadership greatly influenced Ancient Rome. Caesar was quite successful in beating the economic and social crises. For example, he made a decision to cancel all interest payments, until the economic situation in Ancient Rome improved (Fife). Caesar fought with the growing unemployment and constructed new public buildings to give his people new jobs (Fife). Not surprisingly, he had many enemies, who could not withstand his power and growing popularity among the Romans.
In a similar vein, Yitzhak Rabin was one of the most popular charismatic leaders in the history of Israel. He was also the first-native born person to become Israeli Prime-Minister (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). His leadership style combined the features of directness and candidness; he tended to be blunt and, for that reason, faced misunderstanding on behalf of his people (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). However, he became well-known for his efforts in making his country economically prosperous and politically stable. He made serious decisions, in order to persuade his people that they could trust their government (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). One of Rabin’s main achievements was the 1975 agreement with Egypt, when Israel decided to withdraw from the Suez Canal in return for the permission to pass its ships for free through the Canal (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). However, not everyone was satisfied with the changes in national politics.
Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44B.C. and the incident took place in the Forum Magnum, Rome. Approximately sixty senators participated in the murder (Grey). The main conspirators included Marcus Junius Brutus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and Gaius Cassius (Grey). The assassination was a result of many different factors. Basically, it is because Caesar managed to become an extremely powerful figure in Ancient Rome that his opponents hated him so much. He was a true dictator, but his opponents were not willing to recognize him as a ruler for life (Grey). In addition, Caesar’s opponents feared that he would bring Rome back to the state of monarchy and, given the enormous power and charisma of Julius Caesar, assassination was the only way to change the course of events in Rome.
Rabin’s assassination took place centuries later, in 1995. Rabin was killed on his way from a mass demonstration for peace (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The reasons behind his assassination were much more complicated than the factors driving Caesar’s murder. Simply stated, Rabin failed to deal with social differences and class struggle (Peri 32). He was also partially responsible for the cultural conflict between the religious and secular groups (Peri 32). Finally, at that time, violence was a cultural norm in Israel, and the society expected that, sooner or later, Rabin would be killed (Peri 32).
Assassinations occurred many times through history, but they had different impacts on national and international politics. Between 1950 and 2001, the world witnessed an assassination of a prominent political leader at least twice every three years (Jones & Olken 1). Understanding the consequences of assassination is not that easy, but everyone agrees that the death of Julius Caesar became the beginning of Rome’s end. Israel has managed to survive the death of Yitzhak Rabin, but it still misses an important point in its political development. Both stories suggest that even the best political leader is not fully protected from the risks of violence and death. “Death always expressed birth and was necessary to ensure continuity. Without the ‘death’ of the moon, it could not be reborn. Just as the death is part of the cosmic order, so too is the death of leaders” (Peri 33). This is the pattern which many political communities keep following today.
The leadership styles of Julius Caesar and Yitzhak Rabin have some common features. However, the most essential one is that both leaders were murdered by their opponents, who disagreed with their political course. These two stories once again confirm that no political leader can be fully protected from the risks death. It is death that politics needs, in order to maintain its cosmic order.
- Fife, Steven. “Caesar as Dictator: His Impact on the City of Rome.” Ancient Encyclopedia History, 18 Jan 2012. Web. 18 Aug 2013.
- Grey, Duncan. “The Assassination of Caesar.” CLIO: The Journal of the ACT HTA, 2009. Web. 18 Aug 2013.
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Yitzhak Rabin, 1922-1995.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2 Mar 2003. Web. 18 Aug 2013.
- Jones, Benjamin F. and Benjamin A. Olken. Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War. NBER Working Paper No.13102, 2007. Print.
- Peri, Yoram. The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000. Print.
- Thorne, James. Julius Caesar: Conqueror and Dictator. NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003. Print.