PM: Israel forced to fight for right to exist

At Remembrance Day ceremony in J'lem, Prime Minister Netanyahu says "only a strong defense force can ensure that we will not be harmed"; relates to families of fallen soldiers through his own personal loss.

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April 15, 2013 02:33
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at IDF Remembrance Day ceremony, April 14, 2013.

Netanyahu at Yad Labanim 370. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

 
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Israel seeks peace even as it remembers that only a strong IDF can secure its future, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday during a Remembrance Day Ceremony at Yad Lebanim in Jerusalem.

“We do not want war, we are not bloodthirsty. Our arm is extended in peace to all peoples and all countries, near and far, but over the ages we have learned that only strong defenses can ensure that we stay safe,” Netanyahu said.

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He warned that if threatened, “we will raise our swords and go to battle against those who wish to harm us.”

“Ever since becoming a nation, we have been forced to fight for our freedom and our existence. Jew-haters in every generation have banished us, persecuted us, slain us and have tried to eradicate the memory of Israel from the face of the earth. Today there are still those who threaten to annihilate us – they did not succeed in the past, and they will never succeed. The Glory of Israel will not lie,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu, whose brother Lt.- Col. Yonatan Netanyahu was killed in the Entebbe rescue raid in 1976, said he was among Israel’s bereaved families.

“Like you, bereaved families, my family has also paid the price of Israel’s sovereignty. I, too, have felt the torment of loss and absence, the heart’s cry. My consolation, our con solation, is that our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters have not fallen in vain. It is thanks to them that we are a free people in our own country.”

He recalled Rivka Gruber who lost two sons, Efraim and Tzvi, during the War of Independence and Miriam Peretz, who lost her son Uriel in Lebanon in 1998 and a second son, Eliraz, in the Gaza Strip in 2010.



Netanyahu said that when he looks into the eyes of the bereaved families, he sees the depth of their pain.

“My father, Prof. Ben-Zion Netanyahu of blessed memory, passed away over a year ago. Decades after my brother Yoni fell, he published his life’s work, a comprehensive study of Spanish Jewry and the Inquisition. On the first page he wrote that he dedicated the book to his son Yonatan who was killed saving his people in Entebbe. He said: ‘I dedicate the book with unremitting grief,’” the prime minister said.

“The pain does not loosen its grip on us, the family of bereavement. Yet I can see that the wounds inflicted by bereavement have not detracted from your steadfast spirit and soul – and that is the secret of our strength and our might,” the prime minister said.

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