PM Netanyahu
PM NetanyahuIsrael news photo: file

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paid tribute to Israel's fallen soldiers on Sunday evening, at a ceremony marking the beginning of Remembrance Day, at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. Netanyahu recalled his own experience with bereavement, when his brother Yoni fell during the daring rescue of the hijacked Israelis in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976.

"My brothers and sisters, I am all too familiar with the pain and the feeling of loss... I know the loss experienced by bereaved families,” he told his audience.

Netanyahu said peace will come only if Israel remains strong. “Over the course of the years, we learned that the olive branch of peace is attainable only if we remain strong, only if we are prepared to defend our country, as soldiers did here,” he said.

He compared Jerusalem in the days of the 1967 battle of Ammunition Hill to Jerusalem of today. “Forty-three years ago, this hill, Ammunition Hill, symbolized a wounded city, a city cut in half with a wall through its heart. But today, along the path of that wall lie train tracks that will connect Jerusalem's flourishing neighborhoods, the neighborhoods built in the decades that have passed since that day,” he said.

"The life that we create here is a debt that we pay every day to our fallen soldiers,” the prime minister said. “It is an ancient, inner duty – to establish a state here that will be the pride of generations, that will justify their painful sacrifice with its existence and its future.”