Speaking at the opening Remembrance Day ceremony at Jerusalem's Yad
Lebanim memorial on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of
his brother Yoni, who fell in the Entebbe rescue operation, and friends
that fell by his side in battle.
The prime minister identified
with the pain felt by a family after being notified that a relative has
been killed in war. "From that time, their world is cut in two," he
said, "and what it was before, it will never be again."
Remembrance Day, he said, when the siren sounds, the people of Israel
stand united as one family, in memory of all those that sacrificed their lives for the
Also speaking at the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said the last of Israel's wars may not be behind it.
today, there are enemies rising up to destroy us. Still today, our
cities and land are as threatened as always," he said. "Nothing will
deter our sons who have returned home. No international committee, no
provocative mass marches on the borders of Israel, and no threats of
President Shimon Peres also attended the ceremony,
and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona
Metzger addressed the audience. A memorial candle was lit and Kaddish
was said in honor of soldiers that have fallen in Israel's wars.
8 p.m. a siren was scheduled to be sounded, preceding memorial
ceremonies throughout the country, including a service at the Western
Wall, which Peres and Netanyahu were both scheduled to attend.
Tuesday evening, the Knesset was due to hold an official memorial
ceremony. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Naveh and
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino were among those expected to read
poetry by and about fallen soldiers.
Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu
issued a message to bereaved families of fallen soldiers, in which he
said that the unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence
day underscores the fact those who fell in Israel's wars, did not fall
"My brothers and sisters, members of bereaved families,
it was the heartfelt duty of our dear ones that led them to face the
enemy," Netanyahu said, emphasizing that it Israelis have a duty, not
only to remember the fallen, but to look toward the future as well.
the People of Israel lay aside disagreements and stand as one beside
you. Today we remember the fallen of Israel's wars, all of our dear
ones. Each one had a family. Every name has a life's story of its own;
an entire world has been cut short, " Netanyhau added.
reference to his late brother Yoni Netanyahu, who fell in the Entebbe
rescue mission, the prime minister continued: "As a member of a bereaved
family, Remembrance Day is very significant for me. It is not only a
national day of remembrance, it is also a private day of remembrance for
me and my family, as it is for all of you."
Looking ahead to
Independence Day, Netanyahu stressed that due to the soldiers that
fought for Israel, the state arose. "Thanks to them, the State of Israel
will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of
the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in
security and tranquility," Netanyahu stated.
Ehud Barak also wrote a letter to bereaved families Tuesday, in which he
affirmed that the fight for Israel's existence that has been fought
since the 1948 War of Independence is not over,
Israel has and
continues to face "challenges and struggles over our very existence
here," Barak wrote. "That fight is not over and the price is very
Even in its 64th year of independence, great challenges
lie ahead of Israel but the state is doing everything to strengthen
itself, the defense minister continued, pointing to "loyalty,
perseverance and bravery form the basis of our strength and our ability
to stand against every enemy, near and far."
bereaved families, Barak said that as defense minister he stands by
their side and promised not to give up on the dream of peace.