Ehud Olmert hugs bereaved family member at memorial ceremony
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Katsav. 'They won't break us'
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Bereaved father Zeev Rapp
Photo: Avi Mualem
President Moshe Katsav said during a memorial ceremony for Israel's fallen soldiers at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem that the fight for freedom has been going on for over a century.
"We are managing a war for our existence for over 100 years. We've already gone down a significant part of the road, a large, historical journey, to settle the conflict. But it became clear to us that from the time we started making far-reaching compromises, out of a sincere and true aspiration for peace – that was the time that acts of murder and blood spillage increased," said Katsav.
Katsav turned to Muslim religious and political leaders, and asked: "Are you really sanctifying the spilling of blood as a religious value, as a value with which you want to shape the future generation? Can it be that one of you will rise and say – this is not the way, not through the path of the spilling of blood? Could it be that we, the Jewish people, will be the only one who say that terror is not the path of Islam, that it stands in contradiction to the tenets of the Koran, and not one of you speaks up?"
"It's best for those who send (the terrorists) and leaders is to admit that their path did not lead them anywhere but the abyss. Terrorist acts will not break the Israeli people nor the state of Israel. The Israeli nation, as it stood for the past 100 years, is strong, determined, it believes, knows the righteousness of the struggle that we are conducting. The Israeli people will, with the help of God, stand strong, and they will not break us," Katsav said.
The president said he shared the pain of the bereaved families who lost their loved ones in terrorist attacks, telling them: "Whoever has a humanitarian heart is hurting and feeling their pain. We unite with the memories of the victims, the sons of the families who fell, and we are sending to you once again our deep pain."
Olmert: Terrorist senders are target
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent a warning to the heads of terrorist organization operating against Israel: "We won't let up in the war against terror until its destruction," he said.
"We'll continue to act with determination, diligence, and sophistication against terrorist organizations. Not only the murderers themselves, but also their senders are a fair target for striking. The heads of terror organizations are not immune," said Olmert.
He added: "Anyone who turns terror against civilians as a banner, who nurtures racist hatred against every Jew and Israeli, who sends brain washed youths to blow up in markets, and who praises despicable murderers and raises them to the status of martyrs – whoever does that, shows what he is about, his personality - and his baseness. He is not eligible for diplomatic relations. He is enemy to us, an enemy for all who seek peace, and an enemy, at the end of the day, to his people."
Prime Minister Olmert turned to bereaved families and told them: "We are commemorating with love and sorrow the civilians who fell in terror acts. Women and men, babies and the elderly – the innocent victims of blind, criminal murderous, and indiscriminate hatred. They wee not armed soldiers against an enemy, but civilians. They were good and straight Israelis. Simple people who suddenly met their death at the hands of terrorists, and the lives of their families were shattered in an explosion."
Zeev Rapp, father of Helena Rapp, who was murdered in a terror attack in Bat Yam, read out a song written by his daughter, and found after her death. In the song, Helena wrote: "It is forbidden to pick flowers from life, but it is okay to pick soldiers from life?"