netanyahu at remembrance day ceremony_311.
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday addressed the nation during an offical memorial ceremony for those who have fallen in terror attacks, saying, "We give this answer to those who go after our souls: We will strike you. We will strike you with all our determination."
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Speaking about recent terror attacks in Israel, Netanyahu said, "In the recent weeks, the murderous terror struck us again. The Fogel family, Udi and Ruti and their three children, Yoav, Elad and their baby, only-3-months-old, Hadas, all of them were killed by hateful murderers who still sleep in their beds.
"There was Daniel Viflic, who was killed when Hamas fired missiles against tanks, and hit a school bus. And just two weeks ago, another name was added to the list, Ben-Yosef Livnat. He was murdered on his way to pray at Joseph's Tomb. All these people died for just one reason. Because they were Jews. And also some non-Jews were murdered because they were with Jews," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister told the audience, "The purpose of terrorism is to instill fear, to break you, and our answer to this, as it was always, is to refuse to succumb to fear."
Netanyahu told the story of Israel's first terror victim, Rabbi Avraham Shlomo Tsoref. He was badly wounded in a terror attack, fought for his life for 3 months, then died, the prime minister said.
"The answer of the Tsoref family to those who want to kill us is: You will not conquer us, you will not scare us, you will not drive us out," he said.
Netanyahu concluded his speech by wishing a speedy recovery to those who have been injured in terror attacks. Among the distinguished guests in the audience was US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who arrived in Israel Monday as part of a nine-person delegation that will meet with Netanyahu and discuss the peace process.Netanyahu: 'Israel's fallen live on in our hearts'
Earlier Monday, the prime minister addressed the nation at the first official ceremony for Israel's Remembrance Day, saying "22,867 of our sons
and daughters have fallen in Israel's wars. It is hard to appraise the
full price our people, our country has paid in their deaths. In the
families that were not started, the children that were not born, the
creations that were not created. But I can soundly assess the price
that each and every one of you, members of the bereaved families, has
Chief IDF Rabbi Rafi Peretz opened the ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem with a prayer,
followed by Kadish said by the father of fallen soldier Matan Baskind.
Netanyahu said to those families who have lost loved ones, "I am one of you. I
know how great the pain is. I personally know the feeling of a part of
me being amputated, the scar that will never fully heal, the terrible
sense of devastation and loss.
"I am familiar with the various stages. First you are in shock, then you
refuse to believe the truth, then the terrible understanding starts to
set in, that our dear ones will never return, that they will only live
on in our hearts and dreams.
I know that even with the entire nation by your side, you are destined to walk alone with your grief and with the void that has opened wide in your lives," the prime minister said. "In the dark of night and in broad daylight, and more so on days of joy and celebration, a memory suddenly comes to mind and mercilessly spears our hearts."
Netanyahu said that despite the pain, the nation should "find comfort in the revival of Zion, find comfort in building the country, find comfort in the Israel Defense Forces, find comfort in the hope that better days are ahead in which 'nation shall not take up sword against nation.'"
Until that day, the prime minister said, "we shall strengthen our ranks and forge our weapons, as we have learned from our history that only if we are prepared to defend ourselves can we ensure our existence. We shall not tire nor shall we lose spirit. Thanks to our fallen loved ones we can stand up tall; thanks to their sacrifice our existence is guaranteed."
The prime minister's speech was followed by the placing of government wreaths on soldier's graves.
Leading up to the ceremony, citizens gathered at cemeteries throughout the country for the start of Remembrance Day ceremonies.
A special ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died
during the War of Independence was scheduled to take place at the Mahal
memorial near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction.
Ceremonies were due to
be held at an additional 43 cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry said it
expects more than 1.5 million people to visit soldiers’ graves
throughout the day.
The ministry has purchased more than 1 million flowers, which will be
distributed for free at the state cemeteries. The service is available on a
special website sponsored by the ministry's Department for Commemorating
Soldiers and can be accessed at: http://www.izkor.gov.il
the Remembrance Day events on Sunday, the nation bowed its head in
for the servicemen and -women who fell defending the land of
Israel since 1860 – the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City
walls to settle other parts of the country.Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.