Barak at Rabin memorial: Extremists cancerous growth
Peres warns tens of thousands honoring slain PM of dangers of internal strife in Israeli society. Referring to extremists’ threats, Ehud Barak says 'we used to call them weeds, today they are no less than cancerous growths'. Livni: Three gunshots that killed Rabin united citizens of Israel for a second
Tens of thousands of people gathered at Tel Aviv's Yitzhak Rabin Square Saturday night for the main memorial service marking the 13th anniversary of the prime minister's assassination.
During his speech President Shimon Peres warned of the possible disintegration of Israeli society due to internal strife. "The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and other nations were destined to dissolve - both politically and culturally - because they were rotting away from the inside," he said.
"True, we are in the midst of a crisis; there is no point in denying it. The disputes between us have intensified, and they are severely harming the great human fabric that is the State of Israel.
"You are Israel's backbone; the difference between an inspirational democracy and anarchy," the president told those on hand, "you are the ones who care, and Israel future and hopes depend on you."
Rabin memorial service (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Peres requested to relay a message of unity, saying "next year at Rabin Square I want to see those Israelis who do not identify with this memorial service; I want to see that segment of the population that was not involved in that terrible evening (assassination) and did not pull the trigger."
'Your dream will triumph'
During the rally eight right-wing activists carrying signs were held for inquiry.
Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak referred to the Jewish extremists' threats. “We used to call them weeds, today they are no less than cancerous growths…There was writing on the wall then that we weren’t wise enough to see,” he said.
"This is not just writing on the wall, this is a sharp undermining of democracy, the rule of law, the IDF, police and all the authorities serving a normal society. We promise you Yitzhak, we will remove this evil from us,” said Barak.
Barak speaks against extremism (Photo: Yaron Brener)
“We are here to carry the hope until it materializes. You, Yitzhak, the torchbearer, were murdered, but the flame has not died. Your dream will triumph."
Barak also mentioned kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, saying “you did not know him Yitzhak, when you were killed he was still a child.
"I know that you were in similar situations; I know how you operated, with courage and responsibility. When needed, you restrained yourself and bit your lip in repressed rage and when another way was needed you were firm and determined; an initiator, a leader.
“We have no other land and no other way. There is no substitute for peace,” said Barak.
'He was also my prime minister'
Kadima Chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said during her speech, “I wasn’t at the square on that horrible night. There are no words more unifying than those that were waived here, ‘yes to peace, no to violence.’
“Yet we still didn’t come. We didn’t come because then, those words were a hard and piercing bone of contention. We didn’t come even though we wanted peace, but we thought differently.
“In the worst possible way, those three gunshots (that killed Rabin) united the citizens of Israel for a second, and then they became divided once again. I didn’t vote for Rabin, but he was also my prime minister,” said Livni.
This past week saw several events held throughout the country in Rabin's honor. During a memorial at the Holon Theater on Sunday the slain PM's daughter Dalia spoke of the need to preserve her father's legacy.
"My father was (killed) in the battle for peace," she said, "we were left here – those who cherish his memory – to protect and preserve this memory and we must never abandon his path."
During a ceremony held at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl Cemetery on Tuesday, Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eilezer warned that a political assassination was still possible in today's political climate.
"The writing is once again on the wall, this time in bigger letters. The next political assassination is right around the corner," he said.