Rabin memorial: Olmert calls for concessions in Jerusalem
Prime minister says during state ceremony in honor of slain prime minister, 'We must give up parts of the homeland we have dreamt of for generations, as well as Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem'. President Peres says unrestrained minority inciting against leaders must be brought to justice
All of Israel's senior officials attended the state memorial ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, ministers and Knesset members.
Rabin's son, Yuval, recited the Kaddish prayer for the dead.
Prime Minister Olmert spoke of his political doctrine, inspired by Rabin. "If we are determined to maintain a Jewish and democratic Israel, we must concede parts of the homeland we have prayed for and dreamt of for generations, as well as Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and return to the State of Israel in 1967 with amendments."
He added that "the decision must be made now. The moment of truth is here. There is no escape. It can be missed. If, God forbid, we stall, we will lose the support for the two-state idea. There is no need to elaborate on the alternative… Rabin will win."
The prime minister reiterated that "the moment of truth is here. It can be postponed for many years more in which a lot of blood will be spilt. But we must face it with integrity, uprightly and responsibly. The bullets which killed Rabin cannot stop the historic route he led. Rabin will win even after his death."
Peres: 'Justice without fear'
President Peres said that even today, 13 years after the assassination, there are still people inciting against the State's leaders. "The State must bring them to justice fearlessly," he said.
"There is now, as there was then, a small, unrestrained and undisciplined minority, which impudently defies the State's authority, hurts the Palestinians because they are Palestinians and challenge the law enforcers, the police and the soldiers, those who protect the State and protect them as well.
"This violent and dangerous minority must be condemned and isolated, and we must not remain silent in the face of their words of incitement and blasphemy. We must not ignore acts of vandalism and damage, as they were a state within a state," Peres said.
"Israel's honor, the strength of democracy and the rule of law and order obligate this. The extremists have no future, just like they have no justice. The voting majority will not be frightened by the threatening majority.
"The nation will defend its country, peace and democracy with all its might. It will overcome the blinded, as one candle alone can light the darkness."
The president spoke of his partner to the road of peace who was murdered. "Yitzhak underwent quite a difficult metamorphosis. It did not mature in him overnight and was not free of hesitations and heavy fear.
"As 'Mr. Security', who most of his lifetime engaged in strengthening the State of Israel's military power and in securing its ability to win the war, Yitzhak was tormented, also in regards to becoming 'Mr. Peace'. Once he made the political and moral decision, he no longer looked back. He aimed forward with determination and vigor."
Rabin's son warns of political violence
According to the president, "The shots fired at Yitzhak's bare back did not murder his way. Because an idea and a vision cannot be murdered. But they tried to stall, disrupt and damage a great move, surrounded by huge regional and international support, which may have yielded a new political and economic reality in this country and on its borders, for the two people living in it and for its neighbors…
"The despicable murderer, who couldn't care less about Israeli democracy and assassinated its elected leader, hurt the nation's soul. His voice must not be heard. A murderer is a murderer. And there is no need for his imaginary philosophy."
Yitzhak's son Yuval also addressed the memorial service. "Another year has gone by and here we are once more. The atmosphere is similar, the mood hasn't changed. The same incidents and the same voices. Once again the stench of gunpowder is in the air. Once more the chief of the Shin Bet appears before the cabinet and warns of a political assassination. It is clear to everyone that the gun is already loaded," he said.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report