'Rabin was the guardian of the walls of Jerusalem'

22nd anniversary of assassination of former PM Yitzhak Rabin marked by ceremony at Mt. Herzl.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Memorial for Yitzhak Rabin
Memorial for Yitzhak Rabin
צילום: Miriam Alster/Flash90

The ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was held today (Wednesday) at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

President Reuven Rivlin said that Rabin was a man of action, "a prime minister, a minister, a member of the Knesset and a military commander, but there is a title that cannot be taken from him or shared with him, guardian the walls of Jerusalem."

"Rabin's dedication to Jerusalem, his identification with the the city as the source of Jewish existence, was not a passing thing. He was a solid rock. Yitzhak Rabin was willing to make concessions for peace, to make painful compromises. These concessions were like cutting one;s flesh. But when it came to Jerusalem, Rabin was like a wall," Rivlin said.

The president added: "When Rabin spoke about Jerusalem, he understood what Jerusalem was, and when Rabin swore allegiance to Jerusalem, he knew what he meant. Jerusalem is a value and a dream but it is also a home, a street, and a neighborhood."

"Every step towards taking real responsibility for all of Jerusalem, for the quality of life of all its residents, for all its infrastructures, for all its educational institutions, for creating a horizon and a future for all its young people, is the legacy of Rabin. Jerusalem is united, and every resident who lives there needs to know and feel that Jerusalem is in the heart of Israel's leadership and that we are not present in the city. That is the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin.

According to Rivlin, the murder of Prime Minister Rabin by Yigal Amir in 1995 was one of the greatest moments of crisis in Israeli history. "[It was] a state state of emergency, a a moment when, for the first time, Israeli statehood and Israeli democracy faced a tangible threat [from within]. True democracy can and should bear disagreements. And a vibrant democracy should allow dialogue even if it is painful."

"But democracy cannot allow violence, and moreover, it must denounce violence and [especially] violence from within. Because violence, as Rabin said in his final speech, erodes the foundations of democracy. Violence undermines the pillars on which the State of Israel stands," the president said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the memorial to Rabin: "The shocking murder of Rabin, a commander and leader with many praiseworthy qualities, put us to the test. The danger of self-destruction and the implosion of the essence of democracy from national memory arose."

"Today, 22 years after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, I would like to focus not on the subject of the debate, but on the substance of the debate," Netanyahu said.

"In complete contradiction to the prevailing opinion, today there is a great deal of agreement on the issue - not absolute but very broad - a broad national consensus, one of the starting points of which is Rabin's last speech in the Knesset before his assassination." Netanyahu noted.

"Rabin reiterated his commitment not to uproot any settlement within the framework of the interim agreement, and I also held that in the final settlement, people should not be uprooted from there homes, both Arabs and Jews," the prime minister said.

Yuval Rabin, Yitzhak Rabin's son, said at the ceremony that "the apparatus of incitement and division continues to devastate us today, and anyone who thinks differently automatically is labeled a traitor."

"The list of traitors is getting longer by the day, but we can not restrain ourselves because Yitzhak Rabin is defined as a murderer. We must stop this madness. He was not pleased with the Supreme Court, and he was not appointed by the media, but he did not initiate legislation to shut people's mouths. He did not shirk responsibility, and he did not whine," Yuval added.