Peres in Praise or Rabin

October 17, 2013 Agencies
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Israeli President Shimon Peres has spoken at the State Memorial Ceremony marking 18 years since the murder of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin led the country in the battle for resurrection and the fight for its survival, and was at the forefront of the effort to bring about peace. The hills of Jerusalem and the surrounding neighborhoods, the road to the city and the convoys from the War of Independence are signed in the blood of the “Harel” fighters and Yitzhak was their first commander. The soldiers followed him on the most difficult and most dangerous missions, and gave their lives to save Jerusalem from blockade and from isolation from the State of Israel. Yitzhak Rabin, born in Jerusalem, a fighter for Jerusalem and the unifier of Jerusalem. He lays in rest here in Jerusalem’s soil alongside his wife Leah. He survived the flames of war but was exposed to the gun of the murderer who pulled the trigger, shot in the back. His crime will never be forgiven.


He never ceased his search for the path to peace. Yitzhak understood the necessity of peace for Israel with our Palestinian neighbors. He achieved peace with Jordan. “Peace is made with enemies” he used to say. Peace is made with enemies for ourselves, to escape the heavy price we already pay today for hostilities and which could become even more costly in the future. And to protect the Jewish character of the State of Israel. We must remember that enemies also need peace. They also pay the price.


I know that achieving peace requires the thorough public debate that is proper in a democratic country. But it must have limits – of respect for those with differing views, of restraint and of maintain the law. Today there are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and I welcome that. All negotiations start from disagreement with the aim of reaching an agreement. The Two State Solution will maintain Israel’s moral character and its future as a Jewish democratic state. Those who delude themselves that the status quo between us and the Palestinians will continue may become a victim of their delusions. Leaders are tested by the goals they set for the nation, by finding ways to achieve those goals even when reality seems imposing. Yitzhak Rabin understood this and had the courage to take hold of history and shape its direction. Rabin was assassinated but the need to take the historical decision remains. Yitzhak believed that peace requires security and security was needed for our peace. The peace process is not a luxury. It is difficult and often heartbreaking. Until the last moment of his life he hoped that we could complete the process. He knew that the path to peace was not yet paved but that those who were willing to walk it anyway would pave the way.


The Oslo Accords opened the door to peace and laid the foundations for a future agreement between us and the Palestinians. And the entire Arab world. The agreement changed us from those being led to initiators. To creators of a new reality with wise caution. It took us out of a situation of a lack of options. To a reality of options. And it enlisted the world to take part in the cost of the peace process, billions of dollars, and reduced the economic cost on the people of Israel needed to responsibly care for the daily life of Palestinians. The Oslo Accords allowed Israel to show the world that Israel has no intention to rule over another people. They released Israel from the moral burden of ruling another people. The Oslo process allowed for the signing of a peace treaty with Jordan. The peace with Jordan proved that there can be relations between the Arab world and Israel. Tourism flourished. Exports grew and investment in Israel increased dramatically. Israel became closer to other nations. Every Israeli government adopted those agreements. They didn’t suggest an alternative. It is doubtful whether one exists.


The unity of the Jewish people depends upon peace and democracy. And its fate depends on the existence of a Jewish state. In today’s world lone murderers operate to destroy whole systems. Small organizations try to destabilize whole countries. They are a danger to the country. Yitzhak Rabin’s murder was the epitome, the worst of these actions. If we do not root out this phenomena at its core, dangerous and poisonous plants may grow in the future. Yitzhak’s murdered desecrated the commandment of the Torah, “Thou Shall Not Murder.” There is no Jew who can wipe out the words of the Ten Commandments. There is no one who may forgive Yitzhak’s murderer for that. The Memorial Day for Yitzhak Rabin should be dedicated to his legacy and to his way as well as to his memory. 18 years have passed. Babies born then are soldiers in the IDF today. The young generation must know that Yitzhak’s dream is yet to be fulfilled. We must not rest on our laurels, certainly not before we have peace and social justice. Yitzhak’s personality and his legacy illuminate the way for soldiers and civilians.


Let me conclude with the words I said 18 years ago while standing by his grave, “You resembled no one; nor did you seek to emulate anyone. You were not one of the “joyous and merry”. You were one who made great demands – first of yourself and therefore also of others. You refused to accept failures, and you were not intimidated by pinnacles. You knew every detail, and you grasped the overall picture. You shaped the details one by one to form great steps, great decisions.” May the memory of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin be forever saved in the memory of our nation in this generation and generations to come.

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