(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following is Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s eulogy for assassinated Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evy delivered on Thursday, October 18, 2001, at the Knesset plaza:
"To Gandhi’s Yael, that’s what we always called you,
To Palmach Yiftah,
Metzada, Tzeelah and Arava, Gandhi’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
We wail over a friend.
We are bringing to the homeland’s earth its greatest lover, he who walked its paths, who found shelter in its crevices, who examined its shards, knew its stones, knew its thorns and citadels, whose sweat and tears were absorbed by it. Today, we are bringing to the earth one who knew its history better than any of us, who was perfumed by its flowers and scratched by it briars, who flattened the weeds with his footsteps, and who called its bounty and its fruit by name – and loved them.
Today, Part from the skies of the land he who knew the eagle and the kite, the buzzard and the goldfinch, he who knew paths of the migrating birds and the movement of the stars in their orbits, he who loved the arid steal of the skies, the glitter of the skies and their purity, the damp gloomy storm above our heads, who knew and listened.
Today, We part from a determined and hard man, whose love of the land was greater than his love of man, who zealously fought for its freedom with reckless courage, and had gread compassion for its wounds, its cuts cut his soul, the cutting of its borders broke him, we part from he who dared unfurl the flag of Israel with heartfelt pride on Mt. Sinai at the end of Operation Kadesh. Today we know that something happened: A foundation block dislodged from the wall around our hearts, the wall of defense, and today we promise to return it to its place.
Today, I part from a friend with whom I travelled a long road, many years and laden with emotions, we knew battles and distance, we knew agreements and differences, we knew hostility and love, we knew pain and compassion, we knew what all people who are together for so long knew, we knew friendship.
Today, the people of Israel and myself part from one of the most fascinating people in our history, one of the greatest devotees of the land, and one of its leading lovers.
I part with you in personal pain, Gandhi, rival and friend.
The people of Israel part with you in pain and anger.
Rest in peace in the soil of the earth you loved so much. Rest in peace.