Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking on the eve of Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terrorism Victims, quotes the Bible to the effect that working to build Israel is the country’s solace for those killed.
He spoke at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill, where a battle raged on the second day of the Six Day War in 1967, which concluded with all of Jerusalem and the rest of Israel being united for the first time in 2,000 years.
The Ammunition Hill battle raged 10 hours. “The enemy had been beaten, the hill captured, but the price we paid was heavy – 21 of our best soldiers from the Paratroopers Brigade fell in that bloody fight here,” said the Prime Minister.
Quoting from the Book of Jeremiah (31:16), the Prime Minister stated, “Our grief is overwhelming, our hearts ache, where will we find comfort? The prophet said: ‘Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded.’”
“We shall find solace in building the land and the people, in striving for days of peace, and in our knowledge that their work shall be rewarded and their heroism shall be remunerated,” he added.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s family also is one of the bereaved in Israel. His brother Yonatan was killed while commanding the daring Operation Entebbe in 1976.
He said: “If the fallen soldiers were with us today, they would have witnessed countless miracles throughout the years. The soldiers from the War of Independence would have witnessed the rebirth of the State of Israel; those who fought in the Sinai Campaign would have seen the ingathering of the exiles; those who fell in the Six-Day War would have watched us as we return to Mount Moriah and the Western Wall…
“Those who fell in all these operations, campaigns and wars to protect Israel, would probably be surprised how Israel has turned from a state verging on the desert with only meager resources into one of the most developed, prosperous and advanced countries in the world. My friends, none of this would have happened if not for the young men and women who sacrificed their lives to ensure our existence…
“They would see that a huge earthquake shook the Middle East region in the past year…. But as the days go by, one thing is becoming clear – Israel is an island of freedom, democracy and progress in a vast, important swath of land.”
Netanyahu added that until freedom and democracy “light the skies of other countries,… we know that there is only one guarantee of our existence and future – the Israel Defense Force – the protector of the Hebrew people, backed by the spirit of the people.”