Moshe Arens laid to rest

January 9, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin has delivered the eulogy at the funeral of former Defence Minister Moshe Arens.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin at the funeral Photo: Mark Neiman/GPO

Moshe Arens passed away at the age of 93.

Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

President Rivlin addressed the funeral saying:“’Whether slave or tramp, you were created the son of kings, crowned with the diadem of David, whether in light or in darkness, always remember the crown, the crown of pride and of Tagar.’ Thus wrote Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose immortal words became the anthem of the Beitar youth movement. Dear, Misha, our older brother. Teacher and guide to so many in the national-liberal camp, myself included. A Beitari, one of the giants of the founding generation, a scientist and a statesman, amongst the finest of our leaders, and amongst the most important leaders of the national-liberal camp. A brave and humane man. An unbending ideologue who never submitted to popularity or to ease. A true Zionist, with every bone in his body, a servant of the people, and never the opposite. When I was asked how to define Hadar – the nobility, glory, splendour and majesty of a Beitari – I would look to you, Misha. You walked amongst us like a king.

President Rivlin comforts the family Photo: Mark Neiman

Dear Misha, the Hadar you possessed was never afraid of Tagar, of strife or confrontation. All your life you possessed two remarkable abilities – the capacity to dream, to be a man of creativity and vision, and at the same time the capacity to realize, to be a man of action who knew how to do things, who could take the necessary steps to move the people and the whole country forward. Many people contributed to the State of Israel, but only a few changed its course. You were one of them. You were one of the most outstanding and responsible ministers of defense we have ever had. Not a commander or a general. A citizen, with a background in science and engineering, for whom the Ministry of Defense became a second home where you were deeply appreciated. With determination and bravery, you challenged every obstacle and blockage. You forged new paths, by air and by sea, the greatest of which was the Lavi fighter aircraft project. You fought for the Lavi like a lion. You were driven by the understanding that the State of Israel must protect itself, by itself. When you lost that battle, you were not afraid to resign from the government and from the Knesset, but when you understood that the good of the country required you to return to the cabinet table, you came back and worked to advance the IDF and to prepare it for the battlefield of the future. Misha, you may have lost the battle but you won the war. The Lavi itself never came to fruition, but we benefit from it until today. More importantly, you created and defined Israel’s security concept for many years.

I don’t know, Misha, if you were a man of principles. I think you were a man of a single principle. Your principles derived from an understanding that you believed with all your heart. The basic belief that the State of Israel can only be democratic and Jewish, Jewish and democratic, and that the burden of proof falls on us and us alone. You did not just sing the words of Jabotinsky’s poem East of the Jordan ‘from the wealth of our land there shall prosper/ the Arab, the Christian, and the Jew’. That belief was a way of life for you. You believed that Israel’s obligation to include its Arab citizens was its first priority, even before the need for a political agreement, and that it was essential for all our futures. It was according to that belief that you worked and acted.”

My dear Misha, in recent years you fought without compromise to ensure proper recognition for the role of the Jewish Military Union, the ZZW, in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Particularly important to you was the role of Pawel Frenkel, one of the leaders of the ZZW who was killed fighting the Nazis. You fought for this important correction to the historical record. You fought for change. And you succeeded. You saw the connection between the flames of rebellion, between Bar Kochva and the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Perhaps if you were able to, you would have rewritten the words to the Beitar anthem, or at least add a word: ‘to die or conquer the mount/ Yodfet, Masada, Warsaw, Betar.” Dear Misha, you are buried today in the land that you loved. You were not born here, but here is where you made your home. Here is where your life was. You were a teacher and guide to all of us – a man of the Land of Israel. Go in peace, teacher and guide to so many of the national-liberal camp. In the words of the traditional Beitari salutation – Tel Hai!”

Executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “Moshe Arens was a true Zionist who put his country above all else,” Colin Rubenstein AM, AIJAC executive director, said. “His commitment to the defence and security of the Jewish state could never be doubted.

I welcomed Arens to Australia in the early 1980s, when he was received warmly by the local community.”

Mark Leibler, AIJAC’s national chairman, added: “I later met with him in Israel when he served in the ministries of Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Shamir and the Netanyahu.”

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