Tens of thousands of Israelis arrived at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Saturday for the 15th annual memorial service for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Police estimated that 30,000 people arrived at the site to take part in the ceremony.Later, organizers claimed that some 100,000 people were on hand for the rally.
TV personality Modi Bar-On, who was chosen to host the event, opened the rally by saying: "It appears that today, 15 years later, we do not only need two states, but two Rabins – yet we don't even have one Rabin."
He was followed by President Shimon Peres, who thanked those in attendance and declared: "Yitzhak was murdered, but peace shall prevail."
"Our nation will not let go of hope even for a moment," he said. "We are more determined than the enemies of peace, because we swore to put an end to wars, for our sake and for our neighbors' sake. Enough."
"We can win only through peace," Peres said.
'Rabin's legacy intact'
However, the president conceded that the road to peace is still long.
"The neighbors across the border and in the territories are not making the job easier," he said. "There are still those who seek to exterminate us."
"Yitzhak's life has been taken, but his legacy remains intact," Peres said, adding that it obligates supporters of peace to this day. Turning to the audience, he said: "The fate of our nation is in your hands as well."
Remembering Rabin (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Turning his attention to the Yemen bomb plot, Peres added: "We face the same terror front. Yesterday, the US and other countries prevented a major disaster when bombs from Yemen came to kill innocents. We are standing at the same anti-terror front, and we shall face this front together as well."
'We haven't forgotten incitement'
The harshest speech at the event was delivered by Rabin's grandson, Yonatan Ben-Artzi.
"Everyone says they are Rabin's successors, yet they merely try to scare us with their populism," he said. "They scare us with talk of Islamic terror and nuclear bombs. This isn't our way, and it was not Yitzhak Rabin's way."
"It appears that despair has become convenient…there isn't even one politician or leader we can take comfort in; instead we have great silence and one murderer who is sitting in his cell and smiling," Ben-Artzi said.
"Fifteen years have passed, and we do not forget the terrible incitement that gave rise to a cursed murderer," he added. "Ladies and gentlemen, the mission is not over. We must wipe the smile off the murderer's face and make genuine peace, peace with enemies, peace based on equality and opportunity for change."
"I call upon you from here – this role is yours, and you must continue to cry out and not stop until peace prevails here," Ben-Artzi said.
Saturday's gathering may be the last of its kind at the Square, with rally organizers saying previously that they have no intention of maintaining the same format as of next year, as result of the declining number of participants.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report
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