Netanyahu at Knesset memorial for Rabin 370.
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
The government must stand up for its principles and ensure a strong IDF, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a Knesset meeting marking the 18th
anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
strength is the guarantee for our existence and peace. We do not want an Iranian
offshoot in Judea and Samaria. This requires a security border in the
Jordan Valley, as Rabin said in his last speech,” Netanyahu said on
“This is even more relevant today, when Iran’s representatives
took over territory we evacuated in Lebanon and Gaza,” he added.
prime minister spoke a day after Ma’ariv reported that peace talks were stuck on
the issue of an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley, which the Palestinians
oppose. Israel is refusing to budge on the matter.
“We prefer the current
situation over a demilitarized state in a closed cage,” Ma’ariv columnist Shalom
Yerushalmi quoted a Palestinian official as saying.
Speaking in the
Knesset, with Rabin’s children and grandchildren present after a ceremony at his
grave on Mount Herzl, Netanyahu pointed to the IDF’s power as essential for the
country’s long-term survival.
“The government stands up for its
principles. It’s important that we have the tools to defend our country. Rabin
acted to insure the strength of the IDF to ensure our future. Without the IDF,
our fate would be like that of our nation in the Diaspora,” the prime minister
“The IDF stands between us and destruction, even when there are
peace agreements,” he stated.
There would be no pardon for Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir, and he never should be pardoned, Netanyahu
“We learned our lesson, not to have wars and murderers between us.
Our leaders knew that this should not happen. That is why we were so
shocked [by the assassination]. It is a warning sign that we must hold in
front of the nation,” the prime minister said.
Knesset Speaker Yuli
Edelstein spoke of the importance of educating against violence.
cannot make the mistake of romanticism, of saying, ‘It won’t happen to us,’”
Edelstein said. “We have to prepare the forces to deal with violence on a
practical level, immediately. We must explain again and again that
violence is not a shortcut. We have to teach adults, youth and children that
political violence is an injustice, that it is stupid to take the law into your
Edelstein acknowledged that he did not share Rabin’s
political opinions. But he said the lesson from the assassination was that
democracy and political discourse must be strengthened, and that the Knesset had
an important role to play in reinforcing those values.
Shelly Yacimovich also emphasized the importance of democratic
“Ideological debate is the air that democracy breathes, but some
things are not controversial. Rabin was murdered for executing the policy
for which he was democratically elected to lead. He did not surprise his voters;
he did exactly what he promised. That’s why he was elected and that’s why
he was murdered,” Yacimovich said.
To heal the wounds to democracy, we
must remember the violent atmosphere preceding the assassination, she
“We didn’t know then to what depths we would sink, how
demonstrations, which a democracy must allow, became legitimization of murder,”
The lesson the Labor Party chairwoman learned from this is the
importance of political participation, that “it is not enough to elect a leader
every few years and then politically go to sleep. The ‘street’ cannot be left to
the extreme fringes. Our job is to protect our leaders and be on the street to
prevent it from being looted by extremists.”