(Communicated by the President of Israel Spokesperson’s Office)
President Peres’s speech today (Sunday, 9 Novemebr 2008) , at the candle lighting ceremony in memory of Yitzhak Rabin:
Rachel, Dalia, Yuval, the dear Rabin family,
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Otniel Schneller,
When the murder of Yitzhak became known, the streets of Israel were filled with young and old, women and infants, mothers and soldiers.
They could not stop the flow of tears, and with trembling hands they lit yahrzeit candles. The tears were tears of loss. The candles were candles of prayer.
The candle that we have lit here is another candle, to illuminate the path and the activities of a statesman and military leader of Israel. In it burns the democratic wick which will strengthen the flame of peace.
The tears will not evaporate. The lights will not be put out. And they will add to the call to all of us to pursue the goal of peace – this is the foundation for our future existence.
Yitzhak was murdered while ascending a steep path, on which we walked together in a meeting of minds, in order to speed the State of Israel to the realization of the dream of the people of Israel from generation to generation: peace for everybody and security for everyone.
Yitzhak walked a path full of harassers. Legitimate democratic criticism did not threaten him; however the arrows of incitement and the spears of hatred, wrapped in a lie of holiness, these which were aimed at him silenced his heart.
They aimed for the leader in order to stop the journey. A journey of values and a journey of purpose. Indeed, our story of independence. To leave the house of bondage in Egypt and not to create a house of masters in another place.
We have walked together in order to pave the road to the destination of peace. And as close as we have gotten to this goal, so too have the escarpments around us grown taller, and the voices that wish to instill fear have gotten louder. Curses, invective, and threats, and from time to time in the name of God, these became part of our lot, and particularly so for Yitzhak.
But he walked in the lead, with bravery and perseverance, without hesitation and without fear. He believed with all of his soul that we serve the greater national Zionist interest above all else, and from this feeling, from this belief he drew uncommon courage.
And then, tragically, at nearly the last bend before the summit, a murderer ambushed Yitzhak and fired at him bullets of death. All at once a dark cloud came down, encompassing the horizon. The way forward was lingered and obscured, but as we continued seeking, the clear path slowly, slowly became the path of the decisive majority of the people.
The strengthening of the acceptance of the two-state solution for two people living in peace and security, each to its own, is today accepted even by the majority of those who opposed it in the past.
The flame of hope that was dulled on the night of the awful murder was not extinguished and will not be extinguished.
It will light up the future of Israel as a just society and as a Jewish democratic state living in security with peace agreements, in friendship and mutual respect with all of its neighbors and with all of its citizens at home.
The flickering lights on the night of the murder were an expression of the love and respect that the masses of Israel felt for Yitzhak, for his path, and for his message of peace. The message that came from the good heart of the public was sharp and clear: don’t let the darkness prevail, don’t leave the truth die, don’t let the mission lose its significance. The "Song of Peace" will be sung anew in the reality of peace.
Dear Rabin family,
Already thirteen years all of us, and particularly you, have borne the sadness and longing for Yitzhak the father and the grandfather, the head of the family, and for the beloved and devoted mother and grandmother Leah. To them you all were the most dear, intimate companions. Nobody but you can share in the pain, discomfort, and grief that you have felt.
I want to tell you from the depths of my heart, which was broken by the murder of Yitzhak, that I miss him every day, from the day he was placed in his grave to this very day.
The partnership, the understanding, the faith and the friendship that was formed between us at the end of the road I keep in my soul as an eternal conscience.
The "Light of Yitzhak" will not be extinguished and his light will mark the coming of peace.
May the memories of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin be for a blessing.