Netanyahu remembers fallen: Life is answer to death

1.5 million Israelis mark Remembrance Day at military cemeteries throughout country; Defense Minister Ya'alon warns world must never "sweep the Iranian nuclear problem under the rug."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Yom Hazikaron ceremony  (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Yom Hazikaron ceremony
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the official state Remembrance Day ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday, stating that "life is the only answer to death."
Netanyahu recounted having met with orphaned children and not being able to tell them how to cope with the pain of losing a loved one.
"Life is the answer to death, the life of each one of us and the life of our people and the state. Look around you at the wonder that is the state of Israel," Netanyahu stated.
Netanyahu referred to Israel as a "light-filled island of stability" in a sea of darkness.
He vowed that the IDF "is stronger than ever. We can stand up to any test."
The prime minister said that Israel would continue to strive for peace with its neighbors and act to defend itself.
He commenced his speech by stating that Israel could only continue to exist because of the sacrifice of its soldiers. "We salute the fallen, our dear ones, the heroes of Israel, may there memory be blessed."
Netanyahu's speech was followed by a wreath laying ceremony featuring President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff LT.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
Speaking at a memorial ceremony at the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in Tel Aviv on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the world must not sweep the Iranian nuclear problem under the rug, "as recent and distant history proves that giving up and a lack of determination now are a recipe for loss of control and a disaster in the coming years."
"A nuclear program, of a country which sanctifies hatred of Jews and the destruction of Israel, is taking form, and if it's not taken care of in the right manner, it will threaten Israel, the Middle East, and the whole world," Ya'alon warned.
"The region is experiencing a shake-up the likes of which we have not experience," he added.
Ya'alon said Israel seeks peace, and that "our hand will always be extended," adding that "we do not want to lose our sons and daughters. But unfortunately, there are still  more than a few elements that refuse to recognize our right to a national Jewish home in the Land of Israel within any boundaries, and which force us to fight back to thwart their intentions. They try to harm us in various ways, and challenge our robustness as a society. The threats are not decreasing - they're only changing."
He listed terror attacks and rockets on civilian population, alongside an international delegitimaization campaign as challenges faced by Israel in recent years, adding that these challenges will "continue to accompany us in the foreseeable future and will force us to respond aggressively."
Turning to the bereaved families, Ya'alon said it is "impossible to understand the depth of the torments of departing [from your loved ones] and the longing... the price you paid for the continued existence of the state of Israel is unbearably heavy, it is unfathomable."
Israelis observed two-minutes of silence on Monday morning as a siren rang out across the country in honor of Israel's fallen soldiers.
Traffic stopped on highways and people halted their work days to observe the moment of silence on Monday at 11 a.m., after Remembrance Day was launched on Sunday evening with a one-minute siren.
More than 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit military cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry has organized hundreds of buses to transport people.