The daughter of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on Monday lamented the fact that her father's murder failed to unify the people of Israel, warning that the current atmosphere of hatred and incitement risks provoking a similar catastrophe.
"I thought the darkness that had fallen on the family would bring unity of purpose and an understanding that the shots fired in the square were a challenge to democracy. Since then, I've witnessed rivers of deep, dark hatred spreading throughout public discourse. And this fire, which consumes all the good in its path, is fueled by unbridled incitement, the same incitement that created the impression that it was allowed and possible to shoot a prime minister," said Dalia Rabin-Pelossof at the state memorial ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of her father's assassination.
The ceremony, held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, also marked the 15th anniversary of the passing of Rabin's wife, Leah Rabin. It was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President of the Supreme Court Miriam Naor, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and the Rabin family.
"On Sunday, during the youth groups rally, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that we have known for 20 years now that incitement kills. And since then I have been standing guard against attempts to distort history. I have not come as a prophetess today. There is no peace process and there is terrorism, and blood is once again spilt, and hatred is growing. I have no other country, and my country has completely changed," Rabin-Pelossof added.
President Reuven Rivlin also made reference to the ongoing wave of violence, speaking of the current fight for Jerusalem, and how it ties to Rabin's fight for the holy city.
"During these difficult days, days in which we are in a struggle over Jerusalem – in Jerusalem – we stand here today, over the grave of one of the heroes who fought for, and liberated Jerusalem - Yitzhak Rabin, commander of the Harel Unit of the Palmach, commander in the Six-Day War, a liberator of Jerusalem.
"Yes, also the Rabin of Oslo, he was the very same who broke through the way to Jerusalem. It was he who united Jerusalem for us, and he, who commanded of us – proponents and opponents of Oslo alike – to safeguard Jerusalem," the president said.
Rivlin chose to quote Rabin from a speech he made at the opening session of the 13th Knesset in 1992.
"This government, just as those before it, holds that there is no difference of opinion over the status of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel. The complete and united Jerusalem, always was and always be, the capital of the Jewish people, under the sovereignty of Israel. This government is unequivocal in its belief that Jerusalem is not up for debate, and there can be no peace without Jerusalem," Rabin said then.
He stressed that "During these difficult days, when we are being asked to relinquish our control of Jerusalem our capital, when there are those who dare to deny the very link between Zion and Zionism, between the mountain, and the house that stood there, between the people and the very core of their being, at the very time discordant voices try to question our sovereignty, and perhaps harder still, at the time when it seems our own red lines begin to blur and fade in the name of bowing to pragmatism, it seems that specifically now, we must remember and hold high the banner of a united Jerusalem."
"Rabin and Jerusalem were compacted together. Not only is the division of Jerusalem not the way to peace, but it is an obstacle to peace," Rivlin added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also drew a link between the incitement that led to Rabin's murder, and the incitement that leads to terror attacks now.
"The traumatic event of the murder of a prime minister must lead us to close this breach in our wall of democracy. There are still those among us that challenge our democracy," Netanyahu warned.
"The immediate challenge now is withstanding the libel and the lies, fighting against the knife and the stone. We are fighting both the terrorists and those spreading lies," the prime minister said, reiterating once more that Israel is not trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
"Rabin considered terrorism to be despicable and anti-moral, something that must not be justified, and this holds true today as well," Netanyahu said.
"The Palestinians do not educate themselves to want peace, but instead to continue the violence and bloodshed. At the very core of it, the only way they will change their ways and accept our existence is if they understand that they cannot defeat us. Terrorism won't bring us down, its perpetrators did not defeat us in the past and will not defeat us in the future. We will continue reaching out a hand for peace to whoever recognizes our right to live," he added.
At a ceremony at the President's Residence on Sunday night, President Reuven Rivlin vowed that he would never sign a pardon for Rabin's murderer Yigal Amir.
"As long as I am President of Israel, his murderer will not be freed. Curse my hand if it should ever sign a pardon for that evil man. Never," he said.
The president spoke of the lessons learned from the murder. "Twenty years since the murder, and we must ask ourselves - did we do enough to repair the cracks opened by the murderer? Are we doing enough to imprint into the consciousness of this nation, for generations to come, again and again, the destructive potential of political violence?"