(Israel) – President of Israel Reuven Rivlin spoke at the Ner Yitzhak memorial ceremony that opened the events in memory of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin ז”ל, marking 25 years since his murder. The ceremony was held on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at President’s Residence in the presence of members of the Rabin family, Interim Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Deputy President of the Supreme Court Hanan Melcer and representative of the government Minister of Culture and Sport Hili Tropper.
“Ner Yitzhak, the event opening the official memorial events of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is a memorial about the future, the generation that did not know Yitzhak,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks.
“Every year, ahead of this event, I hope, wish, that we will be able to focus for once on Yitzhak’s civil legacy. This year I decided that, come what may, I will speak about it,” said the president. “But before I get to it, and like every year, I find myself wondering today about the soul of this country that Yitzhak loved so much. About the soul of its people, the soul of Israeli democracy which is robust but which we cannot take for granted. Every year, I light Ner Yitzhak and feel how much the ground outside is burning.
“We have a duty to the younger generation that did not know Yitzhak and for the generations of our children and grandchildren to find a way to heal the great and systemic damage to Israeli democracy that happened here a quarter of a century ago. We have a duty to repair the rupture in Israeliness that continues to this day.”
This year, more than ever, we gather here today and I fear that the flames within us are a danger to our home, to is all. The despicable murderer of the prime minister thought that he had legitimacy to destroy in the way that he did, to put into action the existence of deep and severe political dissent. I was on the other side to Yitzhak Rabin in that political argument. There were many more like me. And most of us, convinced that our way was right, did not believe for a moment, did not imagine for a moment, the terrible scenario that the ideological debate would lead to.”
“25 years later, the country is divided like the Red Sea between two camps and hatred bubbles up beneath our feet. It cannot be that signs calling for the death of citizens are on display. It cannot be that journalists live under threat. It cannot be that citizens beat other citizens. It cannot be that police face severe verbal assault. And it cannot be that someone will consider that the assassination of a prime minister, minister, president, Knesset member, is even a possibility. It cannot be that we permit or allow the next political murder even the slightest possibility by what we say or what we fail to say, by looking or by failing to look, by actions or by inaction.”
“We have a duty to the younger generation that did not know Yitzhak and for the generations of our children and grandchildren to find a way to heal the great and systemic damage to Israeli democracy that happened here a quarter of a century ago. We have a duty to repair the rupture in Israeliness that continues to this day,” said President Rivlin.
“To teach ourselves that lesson again and again, until we internalize it, all of us – ultra-Orthodox, secular and religious, Jews and Arabs – that we have no other country that we all love and that we have no other state that we are its sons and daughters. We have no other way apart from Jewish and democratic, democratic and Jewish in the same breath, through which we built and will continue to build our home.”