President Shimon Peres on Thursday opened a series of memorial ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin was murdered by Yigal Amir on November 4, 1995.

"I remember that day as if 17 years have not passed," Peres remarked at the opening of the commemoration, a day when "the arrows of incitement and the spears of hatred, wrapped in the guise of holiness," derailed Rabin from his journey for peace.

"The bullets were directed at Rabin with the intention of stopping that journey," Peres said, and that seventeen years later Rabin's absence is felt more now than ever before.

"The way to ensure a Jewish and democratic state for future generations is to make peace," Peres said, to carry the torch of Rabin's legacy.

Peres's comments followed an Army Radio report that an annual memorial event for Rabin had been canceled following a disagreement between organizers on the theme of the ceremony.

The Fourth of November movement, which has organized the memorial rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square for the past 16 years, decided to cancel its November 3 event, traditionally focusing on peace and non-violence, after a competing group, Dror Israel, reportedly asked that the event also include discussions on "price tag" incidents and racist comments made by rabbis.

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