President Rivlin hosts official “A Candle for Yitzhak” ceremony

November 11, 2016 Agencies
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has hosted the official ceremony marking the beginning of memorial events held for late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, marking the 21 anniversary of his assassination.

Photo:  Haim Zach (GPO)

Photo: Haim Zach (GPO)

Also addressing the event was Yuval Rabin, while also attending were other members of the Rabin family, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Hilik Bar, Supreme Court Justice Zvi Zilbertal, and schoolchildren from the Rabin school.

The President began his remarks by stating, “Yitzhak was an only child, unique, and the son of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He was a warrior, a commander, a leader, a liberator of Jerusalem – and it is because of him that the city was reunited. He was Defense Minister and Prime Minister, was shot by the vile hand of a despicable killer, shot in the back. ‘Should Yitzchak have died as the lawless die? Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before the wicked.’ And all the people wept over him again’.” (paraphrasing book of Samuel 2, 3:34)

He continued, “The Government has the obligation and the right to lead, to pave a way forward, and to make decisive decision. Then as now, even despite strong public disagreements. At the same time, there is no meaningful democracy without an opposition. Without a strong and kicking opposition, one that is sharp and biting; that knows how to stand on its hind legs; which acts as a healthy “threat” in a competitive way to the government. A strong opposition is a prerequisite for substantial democracy, and for the public’s confidence in the democratic system. A challenging opposition is good for the government and is essential for moving forward, evolving and improving; adapting solutions and paradigms and changing reality. Too broad of a consensus and an opposition which is too polite, weak or weakened – does not serve anyone, and therefore does not strengthen democracy, but weakens it and undermines it.”

At the end of his remarks, the President said: “On this day, we remember and are reminded of Rabin, the man and his achievements. More than that, we remember and remind ourselves of the basic conditions for our continued existence here as a Jewish and democratic state. and a strong, vital, growing and thriving country that serves as an example and a beacon of democracy. We must hold together these two elements, even as challenging as it may be to ensure that the intensity of the debate which is the driving force of democracy. We have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren’s generations to find a way to be sure this fatal blow to the Israeli democracy that took place here 21 years ago, into a lesson that needs to be learned again and again, until we internalize that we have no other country beside this great land, and we have no other people beside this great nation; and we have no other way to build this state but as a Jewish and democratic State. Day after day, hour after hour, all of us, all the tribes of Israel together. May the memory of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin be blessed. “

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