Delivering a speech at the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzel in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday vowed retaliation against Islamist terrorists and Iran for funding and egging on violence against Israelis.
A two-minute siren was heard across the country at 11am, after which Israelis nationwide gathered at cemeteries for ceremonies to mourn the fallen. President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett initiated the traditional memorial ceremony at Mount Herzel.
Bennett acknowledged the siren at the beginning of his speech: "A few minutes ago we stood together as one with one heart, to the piercing, steady sound of the siren. A moment of silence.
...And the memorial books opened on their own," continued Bennett, "and we recall the smile, the hug, the last phone call. And we look around and see new faces, angry. The faces of those who recently joined, against their will, the large bereaved Israeli family."
The prime minister's speech went on to convey a message to leaders of Iran and terror organizations as Israel is facing a spate of Islamist terror attacks on civilians and service members alike.
"Violence and terror are not a natural phenomenon or a predestined faith that the State of Israel will come to terms with," he said.
"We'll strike back not just at those who directly harm us, but also at those who send them... A regime that funds and arms terror can not hide any longer.
It has already begun to pay the price which will only grow onward. We'll continue to grow stronger and when it comes down to it, one day, our enemy will understand how hopeless their dream of destroying us is."
Bennett also acknowledged Israeli civilians held captive in the Gaza Strip and the soldiers who were killed in action and whose bodies are still in the hands of Hamas.
"We haven't forgotten them, those who haven't returned from battle. Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. We were there when we sent the boys, and we're here to bring them back home. It's our duty."
He followed by speaking out to veterans who were injured or otherwise harmed during their service.
"We also haven't forgotten those injured in their bodies or souls, those that left to war but the war didn't leave them."
Prime Minister Bennett arrived early on Mount Herzel in order to converse with the bereaved families, comfort and embrace them.