In Remembrance Day speech, PM says all Israelis yearn for peace.
By LAHAV HARKOV, JPOST.COM STAFFPublished: APRIL 19, 2010 11:54Advertisement
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Hamas to release captured IDF solider St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit during a speech Monday at a terror victims memorial ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, while blasting Iran for sponsoring Islamic terror."Terror is not a new phenomena, it has been with us since the early days of Zionism," he said. "The backing for terror today is given by Islamic extremist regimes, led by Iran, that have turned calls for Israel's annihilation into a routine."The prime minister said that terror organizations "jeer at values and norms acceptable in the humane and enlightened world.""It's already been four years that they've been holding captured soldier Gilad Schalit," he continued. "We won't stop acting to bring him home, and I say it here, to his captors and their leaders, 'Bring back Gilad Schalit."Earlier Monday, Netanyahu andDefense Minister Ehud Barak spoke at Remembrance Day ceremonies for fallen soldiers, comforting and commending bereaved families.Netanyahu spokeat the memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl's Military Cemetary, which began after thesounding of the siren, at 11:00 Monday morning. President ShimonPeres, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Chief Justice Dorit Beinishwere also in attendance.Netanyahu opened his speech with apersonal story of his time in the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit. Hedescribed two young soldiers that served with him: “Zohar Link wasa handsome and charismatic young man. He was a counselor in theShomer Hatza'ir youth movement, played the harmonica, lovedphotography, loved nature. Who knows where he would have gone withhis personality? David Ben-Hemo was an intelligent, handsome boy, anexcellent athlete, curious, sensitive and modest. He captivated me from themoment I met him. I believe he had a bright future ahead of him.”Link and Ben-Hemo were wounded whilepreparing for a military operation. “I accompanied them in the carthat brought us to Tel Hashomer hospital,” Netanyahu said, “whileholding David with all my strength. He died in my arms, before wereached the hospital. Zohar died shortly after. I will never forgetthese moments; both of them remained 19 years old forever.”Netanyahu continued with the story ofhis brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed in the famed 1975 Entebberescue operation, which he commanded. “Once, I saw my mother Tzila,may she rest in peace, sitting on a chair my parent's house, staringinto space,” he said. “I asked her: 'Mother, what are youthinking about?' She answered: 'I am thinking about Yoni, about myYona'le,' and then she added: 'there are only good memories.'”“Today, the entire nation embracedall the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughtersand wives in bereavement, in loss that is too heavy to bear,” hesaid. “Our comfort is to continue in the paths of our dear ones,and fulfill their dreams.”“We are a nation that seeks peace andprays for peace. Our one hand is outstretched towards peace, we allwant peace in our hands, and the other holds the sword of David, inorder to protect our nation against those who seek to harm us,”Netanyahu said.Netanyahu ended his speech, saying “may thememories of the fallen, of our dear ones and our beloved, creatememories for us, forever.”Barak spoke concurrently with Netanyahu, at the Kiriat ShaulMilitary Cemetary in northern Tel Aviv. “We stand here, in front of this longrow of tombstones, which are the tangible witnesses to the price youpaid in blood, dear families, for our nation to live in its land,”Barak began. “Moments ago, the siren was heard throughout the land,moving and chilling as the blowing of a Shofar, echoing thecommandment of our hearts, to remember the fallen.”He continued: “22,684 fallen is thenecessary price, that we did not want, the price of sovreignty inIsrael, in this generation. A state is not given to the nation on asilver platter, and freedom is only given to those who are willing todefend it.” “The struggle for the right 'to be afree nation in our land,'” Barak said, quoting the national anthem,“comes from choosing life despite the price paid in blood for thischoice. This is the fate of our generation, and building a 'modelsociety' that will be worthy of the sacrifice of the fallen is ourgeneration's mission and its test.”Barak finished by saying “I am sorrythat I can not hug each and every one of you personally, and expressmy feelings, but on this day I feel close to you and identify withyou, and recognize the price that is too high that you have paid forthe security of Israel.”Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharanskyled a ceremony in honor of the 200 Jews killed in anti-Semiticattacks around the world, since the establishment of the State ofIsrael.“Our enemies understand that ourstrength comes from the IDF and the entire Jewish people'sidentification with the State of Israel,” Sharansky said.“Therefore, the war against the State of Israel and the Jewishpeople has no borders. Our enemies attack us not only in Jerusalemand in Tel Aviv, but also in Argentina, France, England and Bombay.”
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