It is [Israel's] duty never to repeat the mistakes made in the past, the result of which was an increase in terrorism and the return of released terrorists to acts of terror, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday at the Memorial Service for Victims of Terror on Mount Herzl. The prime minister turned to the victims' families, saying that "in the range of heavy and agonizing considerations involved, there is, of course, an honorable place for consideration of your feelings and those of the bereaved families, the victims of acts of hatred and terror."
Israel remembers its fallen fighters
Bereaved families boycott ceremony
Olmert said that the campaign against terror placed several difficult moral and security dilemmas before us - "the cruel reality of dealing with the terror organizations, the abyss between us regarding attitudes towards human life, past and current damnably difficult choices needing to be made by prime ministers in Israel between conflicting values and considerations."
The prime minister vowed to take a firm and uncompromising stand against terror organizations and exert the full force of the law "against base murderers whose hands are stained with blood."
He also pledged to prevent, at any cost, the terror organizations from kidnapping, thereby "bypassing the punishment imposed by the courts on murderous terrorists."
At an earlier ceremony on Mt. Herzl Monday, following a two-minute siren at 11 a.m., Olmert promised that Israel would continue to work for the release of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Schalit.
Several government and IDF officials attended the ceremony, including Acting President Dalia Itzik.
"On this special day, we are all one mourning family," the prime minister said at the beginning of his speech. "There is nobody in Israel to whom the feeling of war is foreign."
"The fate of our kidnapped and missing soldiers will not be dropped as a priority and we won't spare any efforts in returning them to their borders and to their suffering and longing families."
"The price of defense and security for the state of Israel is very high," Olmert added. "But without it, we would not have survived and we would not exist."
"We must remember today, and every day hereafter, in humility and love, our soldiers," the prime minister continued. "And when we remember them, we cannot forget the suffering of those wounded in battle, and those casualties who carry the scars of war."