President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, cabinet and Knesset members attended the State service marking the 17th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, in Jerusalem.
Sunday’s ceremony was held on Mount Herzl and also honored Rabin’s late wife, Leah.
Peres spoke at the ceremony, saying that Rabin, in his many years of service to the State of Israel, “Never once lost sight of the importance of maintaining security alongside social justice.”
“Rabin negated the concept of a binational nation, fearing it will spark a never-ending conflict. He knew being a leader meant making hard choices and leading was his choice,” Peres said.
“Rabin championed Israel’s right to self defense, and believed the country should be based on social justice,” Peres added. “He also knew that indecisiveness could lead to us being led by circumstances – in stead of us leading them.”
Peres stressed that “Rabin laid the foundation for the future peace agreement with the Palestinians… during his time the relations with the United States, which are our most important strategic asset were bolstered… and that had an impact on our international standing.”
Netanyahu also spoke at the ceremony: “Rabin recognized the Iranian threat. There is great turbulence all around us – in historical proportions,” he said.
He also mentioned the Palestinian issue. “Since the murder, Iran’s proxies seized control of half of the Palestinian people, the half that’s in Gaza, and they are looking to take over the other half in Judea and Samaria.
“Hamas, like other terrorist organizations, does not hide its intention of annihilating Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The PA did not complete the peace agreement with Israel and is setting preconditions for the renewal of peace negotiations.”
The government also marked the assassination’s anniversary, beginning the weekly cabinet meeting with a moment of silence.
‘Murder stains Israel’s history’
“Rabin’s murder is one of the greatest crimes in our modern history,” Netanyahu said. “It stains Israel’s history and the history of Zionism.
“It will always be remembered as one of the most traumatic events in our nation’s history,” Netanyahu said.
Some 20,000 people attended a rally marking the 17th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death, held in Tel Aviv under the title “Remembering the murder – fighting for democracy.”
The Knesset will hold a special memorial plenum session later on Sunday.