Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon at Yom Kippur memorial at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl.
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Speaking at the Remembrance Day memorial ceremony at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon addressed the bereaved families, saying that their loss "has no cure."
"It will always be there, it will never leave, and there is nothing that can dull it," Ya'alon said.
The defense minister said that Israel has been fighting against those who seek its harm, and has been paying a heavy price since its founding. "We must continue to advance up the hill, to the peak, as David Ben Gurion said 61 years ago. But on this journey we lose the best that we have."
Israel's hand is extended towards peace to the countries of the region, the defense minister said, adding that "those who are sincere in their intentions - their hand will not remain hanging in the air. We seek peace and educate the future generations accordingly. We are prepared, as we have proven in the past, to march down the long and risky road to obtain it and prevent pain and tears in the future."
Ya'alon called on Israelis to remember that there are elements around Israel who have not yet accepted "our right to a national Jewish home, and they will do everything they can to cause to stray and disrupt our lives. They do this through missiles and rockets, terrorism and delegitimization, and in recent years, Through an attempt to develop nuclear weapons that will threaten not just Israel, but all of humanity."
Israel lost 72 of its best sons last summer, including 67 IDF soldiers and commanders who fell in Gaza while defending the residents of the south from terror organizations, he continued.
"The face of the Middle East is changing beyond recognition, and the place of militaries is being taken over by relentless organizations that thirst for blood, alongside an Iranian terrorist state that even today funds, trains, and arms terrorism, and sends its arms to every place in the region and beyond."
"To continue to ensure our safety against the challenges, the state of Israel must have a strong military, which is skilled and of high quality, and which acts with determination and might both along the borders and far away from them; an advanced defense establishment; and mainly, we need excellent people who believe in the way and know its righteousness, like the sons and daughters who will not return," he said.