Reuven Rivlin at Rabin memorial 2019
Reuven Rivlin at Rabin memorial 2019Haim Zach/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin spoke Sunday at the official state memorial ceremony for Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin at Har Herzl in Jerusalem, marking 24 years since his murder.

Members of the Rabin family, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein, Deputy President of the Supreme Court Hanan Melcer, Chair of the Jewish Agency Isaac (Boujie) Herzog, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Aviv Kochavi, Head of the ISA Nadav Argaman, chairman of Kachol Lavan Benny Gantz, ministers and current and former members of Knesset, Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion and dean of the diplomatic corps the Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel also participated in the ceremony.

During his speech, the Israeli president lamented the polarization of Israeli society along partisan lines, and warned against believing "insane" conspiracy theories regarding Rabin's assassination, including suggestions Yigal Amir was not the actual killer.

"Today, after 24 years, perhaps now is the time to separate the murder from our political beliefs. And I want to ask, are we capable of doing so? The fear of another political assassination, and the hope that another murder could not happen is not the preserve of one political camp or another. It is a fear we all share. Whoever remembers that evening knows: it is possible to grieve and weep over a terrible murder, over the sacrifice of Yitzhak, without believing in the path to peace that he tried to advance."

"Do not believe the absurd, strange and insane voices of the fringes. Do not believe those who speak about post-truth, alternative facts and new theories. Post-truth means lies and alternative facts are fraud. Do not be tempted to believe that these voices are representative. Do not lend support to those who try, with all their might, to add fuel to the fire."

Rivlin also chided those on the Left who had used the assassination to cast aspersions on the Israeli Right.

"We must not continue to use the murder to score points in the political discourse. We must not use the trauma, the pain, to fight the opposing camp’s ideology. Yitzhak believed in the peace process and sang his song until his last breath, even on that dreadful night in the square. I am not seeking to separate the man from the dream he advanced. I am asking, if and when will we be ready to remember differently, together, not just the life of Yitzhak, but also his death. Because if we are not able to remember together, to grieve together, this assassination, this act of political violence, what will become of us?"

"A large part of the population did not know Yitzhak and would like to connect to the man, the leader through art and culture. New generations are born who want to give their own interpretation, through art, films, television and creativity to the death of one of the most important and influential leaders the State of Israel has known. The event has become a story that we tell and pass on to the next generations."

"Do we want the murder of Yitzhak Rabin to be fixed in the history of our people as an event that divided Judea from Yisrael, or as an event that caused us to take stock of ourselves, to remember what a terrible price there is to turning a blind eye to political violence, what a terrible price there is to hubris?"