PM Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz at Mt. Herzl 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Jews have overcome all their enemies throughout history, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during the state ceremony for fallen soldiers at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem Wednesday.
"They want to wipe Israel off the map," Netanyahu said of Israel's contemporary enemies. "They will not succeed."
"We are here in Jerusalem, and will stay in Jerusalem, the holy city of the Jewish nation for generations to come," the prime minister declared on Remembrance Day, 45 years after the IDF liberated Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War.
"We won't stop living... We'll continue to strengthen the State of Israel. We will raise our children here," he said.
The prime minister praised the "determination" of Israel's residents today. "I see [that determination] in the Itamar family; I see it in the families from Toulouse," the prime minister said, noting two separate incidents of terrorism in which five family members were slaughtered in the Itamar settlement, and one rabbi and three children were gunned down in the southern French city of Toulouse.
The ceremony followed a two-minute siren sounded throughout the country to honor the fallen. Cars stopped on roads nationwide as drivers stood in the highways, silently, in honor of the state's defenders.
Earlier, recalling the loss of his brother, Netanyahu described Remembrance Day as a day when the personal pain of bereaved families becomes the entire nation's pain.
"The whole country stands around us," he said, "Today we are all one family."
The prime minister's brother, Yonathan, was the sole Israeli casualty during an IDF rescue operation in Entebbe, Uganda to free hundreds of hostages who were taken aboard a hijacked plane.
Following Netanyahu's speech to bereaved families and gathered officials, President Shimon Peres laid an official state wreath in honor of those who have fallen in defense of the Jewish state. Also laying wreaths were IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.
The speeches and wreath-laying were followed by the firing of rounds by an honor guard and the singing of Hatikva
, Israel's national anthem.