"The stone terror from the West had been added to the terror of firebombs, knives, gunfire and missiles, time bombs, car bombs and suicide (bombers)," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during Monday's Remembrance Day ceremony honoring Israeli victims of terror.
Addressing the stoning of an Israeli vehicle in the West Bank last month, which left Israeli toddler Adele Biton critically wounded, Netanyahu said the incident was "yet another reminder that a rock is a lethal weapon."
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The number of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks stands at 2,493, including 120 foreign citizens. The past year has seen 10 civilians killed in terror attacks.
During the ceremony, held at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl cemetery shortly after a memorial service for Israel's fallen soldiers, the prime minister mentioned the "people of high morals who constantly preach to us, but I have noticed that they do not always rush to condemn our enemies when they spill pure blood."
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
Netanyahu told those on hand that Israel's enemies "massacre us, and criticize us for defending ourselves." He said that the history of the Zionist enterprise had been filled with terrorism against it, but added that, "we will not give up and we will pursue the terrorists and strike them in every place."
Israelis stand in silence during siren (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
Netanyahu, who referred to the terrorists as "sub-humans," said terror attacks "are meant to kill us, sow fear and panic, undermine our security, uproot that which has been sowed and banish us from our land. All means are justified in the eyes of the murderers, but our nation will not back down. We will not surrender or give up."
Following Netanyahu's speech, President Shimon Peres laid a wreath for the victims of terror attacks, as did the prime minister himself and several other officials.
Terror Victims Association Chairman Tzvika Pozis-Shahak spoke at the ceremony against what he claimed was lacking governmental support. "The country, in its recognition of its responsibility and of the importance of our existence, built a system of benefits, compensation, rehabilitation and assistance support and help for the injured.
"Yet, the system doesn't have the power to meet all the needs of the injured and is sometimes powerless in delivering, despite its good intentions.
"I ask you: Where will a child, whose brother was killed in a terror attack and his parents aren't functioning, turn? He needs and wants a vacation which can brighten his day; he wants someone to hold a bar-mitzvah for him, to go with him on a trip which will temporarily remove him from the pain," he said.
"The legislator, in his recognition of these difficulties, decided to determine by law, a representative organization whose members are from the terror victim community; its goal is to act for the welfare in places in which the system cannot fill the void. This is an organization for those injured and left unanswered and have no choice but to knock on the organization's door, and we are trying our humble best to listen to them, assist them, be here for them – direct them – but we can't always help."
Nationwide, Israelis stopped in their tracks and stood in silence as air raid sirens sounded at 11 am. Traffic stopped and people got out of their vehicles on highways and roads to stand with heads bowed for two minutes.
The sad atmosphere ends sharply at sundown when in jarring contrast, Israelis joyfully take to the streets for Independence Day celebrations with dancing, fireworks and parties.
AP contributed to the report
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