(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s remarks at the special Knesset session today (Wednesday), October 17, 2001, in memory of Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evy, who was assassinated this morning:
This morning, our fellow minister and MK Rechavam Ze’evy, Gandhi, may God avenge his blood, was murdered in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists.
From his youth until the day of his death, Minister Ze’evy took an active part in the campaign for the establishment of Israel – and in this campaign he fell.
Rechavam, a sixth generation Jerusalemite on his mother’s side, fell in the line of duty in Jerusalem, our eternal capital.
Minister Ze’evy’s achievements on behalf of the State of Israel were many: From his days in the Palmah that he joined in his youth; through his service in the IDF in which he served for over 25 years, reaching the rank of major-general; and through his service as an MK and a minister. The head of the Moledet movement loved his homeland. His path was marked with milestones in the establishment of Israel and its struggles.
Ze’evy was one of the IDF’s greatest staff officers and commanders. Afterwards, he continued to contribute to Israel’s security and served as the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s adviser on counter-terrorism and intelligence.
First and foremost, he was a consummate Zionist. I did not know anyone who had such a vast knowledge of the Land of Israel and its history as him. His contribution to settlement in the Land of Israel was considerable. Ze’evy was an outstanding parliamentarian for 13 years and a minister in Yitzhak Shamir’s government and in the current national unity government. In all of his public posts, he persistently and admirably fought for his positions and beliefs.
This is a severe loss to the people and State of Israel. For me – it is also a personal loss.
Gandhi was first and foremost a comrade: A comrade-in-arms and also a comrade to the belief in the nation of Israel’s unequivocal right to its historical homeland.
Only despicable terrorists can dream of assassinating an elected official in a democratic state. Only a regime that wants to subvert the State of Israel and deeply opposes peace can give shelter and support to murderers of this kind. The full responsibility falls squarely on Arafat, as someone who has controlled, and continues to control, terrorism, and as one who has not – to this day – taken even one serious step to prevent terrorism.
He knew that not taking steps against organizations such as Islamic Jihad would lead to terrible acts of murder and the responsibility is fully his. We want peace with the Palestinian people, but there will be no compromises with terror. Never.
Minister Ze’evy’s legacy is holding fast to the soil of our historic homeland, and the determined, uncompromising war for the existence and security of Israel. We will wage all-out war on the terrorists, those who collaborate with them and those who send them.
His legacy we will fulfill; may God avenge his blood.
Gandhi will be sorely missed by myself, and by everyone.
I would like, on behalf of everyone, to express our condolences to Gandhi’s great and special family.
May his memory be blessed.