A new memorial to the victims of the 'Altalena Affiar' was dedicated today in the Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the dedication ceremony.
"Only five weeks after the establishment of the state, Jews shot other Jews. This bloodshed left a scar on the nation's heart. Menachem Begin will forever be remembered for preventing the disaster from escalating. (Thanks to Begin we had) not a civil war, but brotherhood."
"The men of the Altalena sealed their lips and joined the IDF to defend against the Arab enemy." Netanyahu continued. "We must follow in their footsteps. Many of our own enemies understand that we are on the same side."
Netanyahu stressed that "This is also a struggle for the historical truth, our roots, our homeland, and our capital, Jerusalem. We continue to fight for the truth and to build up our nation."
Netanyahu called on Israelis to "Always remember the pain of the men of the Altalena. The love of Israel can overcome any suffering."
The Altalena was an Etzel ship bearing arms to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. The government of David Ben-Gurion, fearing Etzel leader Menachem Begin's intentions, refused to allow the ship to dock and demanded that all of the arms be turned over to the IDF. A standoff ensued, which was ended when the order was given to fire on the Altalena. 16 Etzel members were killed by IDF fire.
The new memorial is a model of the ship, made out of concrete and coated with metal coating. Written on the memorial are the words of Menachem Begin.
"“We can never have a civil war.”