TEL AVIV - Israel will on Wednesday commemorate 12 years since prime minister and Nobel laureate Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Jewish gunman, with a series of nationwide memorial services.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres will attend an official ceremony at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Cemetery at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT) along with senior military officials and other dignitaries.
Olmert will then address the Knesset during a special anniversary meeting in honour of the former premier, widely revered as a national hero both for his storied military career and his peace efforts in the 1990s.
On Tuesday dignitaries and members of the Rabin family attended a candle lighting ceremony at the residence of President Shimon Peres, who as foreign minister was also at the fateful Tel Aviv rally in 1995 when Rabin was killed.
Students and Israeli youth afterwards lit hundreds of beacons at major junctions across the country.
Meanwhile, Rabin's daughter, Dalia, regretted that her father's assassin had not been executed.
"I think that he should have been killed, not because it's about my father but because the killer shot democracy in the back," Dalia Rabin said on Israeli public television.
The anniversary comes as extreme right-wingers campaign for clemency for the assassin Yigal Amir after 12 years behind bars.
The so-called Committee for Democracy plans to hand out 150,000 copies of a video of Amir's family calling for his release "in the name of human rights" and "national reconciliation" -- to the horror of Israeli authorities.
"I intend to work to ensure that he ends his days in prison. This man has the closest status possible to a man condemned to death," Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told army radio.
Dalia Rabin expressed anger at the campaign.
"If Israel wants to commit suicide, it should let this campaign develop," she said.
On November 4, 1995, Amir fired three bullets into Rabin's back at the end of a Tel Aviv rally in a bid to torpedo the Oslo autonomy accords with the Palestinians that had earnt the Israeli premier a Nobel peace prize.
The general-turned-peacemaker inspired both admiration and hatred for signing the 1993 accords, and in 1994 shared the Nobel peace prize with Peres and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Peres said on Tuesday that the best way to commemorate Rabin was to "realise we are back on track to peace" in reference to negotiations between Israel and Palestinians ahead of a Middle East conference in the United States this year.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will attend the customary graveside ceremony at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 12th anniversary as it falls under the Hebrew calendar.
Parliament will then hold a special session in memory of Rabin.