A state ceremony commemorating the 12th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was held Wednesday afternoon at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
"Twelve years have passed by rapidly since that terrible night in which the prime minister of Israel was killed by the lowliness and abomination that exists in murderers - by the son of injustice who undermined the integrity of Israeli democracy, and plotted to topple it with three bullets, which he fired into the exposed back of Yitzhak," President Shimon Peres said at the ceremony.
"We were a strong people and we will remain a strong people. Stronger than any shock or crisis...Today, more than ever, Israel continues along Rabin's path – the path that will lead us to the sought after peace," continued Peres.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke next, and brought up the incitement which led to Rabin's murder. He said such incitement could not be permitted even in the most open democracy.
"We were naïve to think, up until that Saturday evening, that we as Jews and members of an open and free democracy, were immune to the rising of baseless hatred at home," he said.
"The Israeli nation's aspiration for peace won't be stopped by the bullets of a lowly assassin," the prime minister said, and highlighted Rabin's security and diplomatic legacy.
'Hope replaced with apathy and despair'
Michael Rabin, the late prime minister's grandson, said, "For 12 years you have been keeping silent from this grave. For years I have kept silent together with you. Today I am breaking my silence because I can, as opposed to you being silenced forever.
"My natural tendency is to tell you first and foremost about the beautiful moments, the difficult days, all the small things the day is comprised of, the passions and the disappointments, the successes and the failures. Maybe more than all I would like to make sure that my grandfather and grandmother know that I am okay, because I know that you cared for me and loved me so much.
"Twelve years have passed since we held our last conversation. A long time. So much has happened since the evening you were murdered because of your political way, and I was sitting at home studying for a civics test.
"So while I was delving into the material, I did not know that the painful and cruel lesson about the borders of democracy in Israel was still waiting ahead. And I, as a citizen, but more than that as a grandson, was about to pay a dear personal price."
Over the past years, Michael said, he had noticed "how hope was replaced with a mixture of apathy and despair.
"Today, when the winds of dialogue are blowing again, and behind the scenes it appears that agreements are being formed, and we all know that we are facing painful compromises, today – as opposed to the reality 12 years ago – we know how fragile such a process is.
"Will we know how to remove and condemn the expressions of hatred and incitement? Can we hope that in spite of the apathy, the lesson has been learned and internalized? Will we know how to cry out loud if required in order to protect ourselves and prevent history from repeating itself?"
IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Avi Ronsky opened the ceremony by reading a chapter from Psalms. Rabin's son Yuval then said Kadish.
Among those who attended the memorial were Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish, cabinet ministers and other public figures.