An official state memorial ceremony marking 18 years since former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's
assassination was held at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Cemetery on Wednesday, with the participation of members of Rabin's family, President Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis.
President Shimon Peres spoke at the service, and claimed that only a two-state solution will maintain Israel's moral character and its future as a Jewish and democratic state: "Whoever misleadingly believes that the status-quo between us and the Palestinians will remain may be a victim of his own delusion. Yitzhak Rabin understood that."
"Yitzhak Rabin stood at the nation's front in the fight for its foundation and in the defense for its life," said the president. "He survived the war's fires, yet was exposed to the consuming fire of the villain who pulled the trigger, shot him in the back and muted his heart. The crime of that evil hand will never be forgiven."
Peres. 'Murder will never be forgiven' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Peres sought to stress that Rabin did not enter the peace process naively and blindly: "Yitzhak was realistic and balanced, and knew that the road is still long until our swords could be put down and peace achieved. He acknowledged the historic need for Israel to reach peace with its Palestinian neighbors and signed a peace treaty with Jordan. 'Peace is made with enemies,' he always said."
"In today's world, individual killers work towards destroying entire systems. Small organizations try to shock entire countries. They are dangers to policy makers. Yitzhak Rabin's murder is the peak of such activities. Unless we cut out such phenomena from the root, they may rise into dangerous poisonous plants in the future as well. The villain who killed Yitzhak desecrated a holy commandment in the Torah of Israel: 'Thou shalt not kill.' No Jewish mean may delete such commandment from the Ten Commandments. No man is worthy forgiveness for such (crime)."
Netanyahu. 'Rabin did not close his eyes to danger' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Rabin took risks but did not close his eyes in the face of danger."
"There is and will not be forgiveness for the murderer. Rabin's murder is a crime that will never be forgiven. President Peres rightly said that peace one makes with enemies, but enemies that desire peace. Enemies who don't desire peace and want us wiped off the map are no objective for peace. Rabin acted to get an olive branch but he was also aware of the sword. He believed that only be clinging to the sword could Israel secure its existence."
In Mount Herzl (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
On Saturday night some 35,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where the prime minister was assassinated on November 4, 1995 by right-wing extremist Yigal Amir, for the main memorial rally in his honor. During the event, Rabin's grandson urged Netanyahu to bring peace to Israel.
Yonatan Ben-Artzi called on the Israeli premier to use the opportunity given to him with the current peace negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"My grandfather was murdered over peace and you owe this peace to us, to all of us," he said.
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