President Herzog at the ceremony
President Herzog at the ceremony Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday addressed the official memorial marking 65 years since the 1956 Suez Campaign, and laid a wreath in memory of the fallen.

The President began by saying: “Sixty-five years have passed since the Suez Campaign, and we do not forget your dear ones -- our dear ones -- the fallen and the missing, who fought with determination and courage for the security of the State of Israel and the Jewish People and who fell in the service of the nation. We salute their bravery and bow our heads in their memory.”

“The Suez Campaign was an important milestone in the history of the State of Israel. It made clear to our enemies and the world that we are here to stay.”

He added: “Thanks to the victory in the Sinai, Israeli deterrence was restored and we gained a decade of relative calm in terms of security. These were vital years for the military, economic, and diplomatic entrenchment of the State of Israel. Israel was busy making our towns bloom, absorbing immigration, building, and growing strong. The battles of Suez influenced not only the results of the campaign. They also influenced, no less importantly, the character of the IDF’s soldiers and commanders.”

“Much has changed in the 65 years since. The State of Israel has developed and evolved. Our defensive power is not in doubt nowadays. Our soldiers’ spirit -- their daring, their courage, their determination -- these have not changed. In those years, we also succeeded in realizing our longing for peace with our southern neighbor, Egypt.

“I assume that the soldiers back then were not praying for these relations, but we can certainly say that their courage and determination seared something in the consciousness of the Egyptian enemy, and after two additional blood-stained wars, the long-awaited peace arrived. This is a clear reflection of the power of peace, which brings us security and stability.”

President Herzog concluded by addressing the bereaved families, saying, “Dear families, ‘It is not a fable, my friend, nor a passing dream,’ wrote Yechiel Mar in a poem which became the anthem of the Suez Campaign and was performed here today. What was seen then as a fable bore a heavy price. You, the families, paid the price. You remember, and we remember with you.”

“We shall do everything to be worthy of your dear ones’ memory. May the memory of the heroes, the fallen of the Suez Canal, remain etched on the hearts of the people in Israel forevermore.”