An Israeli patriot was vanquished by a murderer who fired a bullet at the heart of the nation.

 PM Netanyahu addresses Knesset memorial session for Yitzhak Rabin


Photo: GPO

Yitzhak Rabin was the quintessential "sabra" – idolized commander of the Harel Brigade during the War of Independence, victorious IDF commander of the Six-Day War, highly regarded ambassador to the United States, the first native-born Israeli to serve as prime minister, a leader who strove for peace – and achieved it with Jordan, "Mr. Security".

From the time that a young Yitzhak Rabin committed himself to work on behalf of his people and country, his qualities slowly began to reveal themselves: his handsomeness, the quiet that enveloped him, his shy smile, his sharp mind. His modesty, integrity and leadership. He was level-headed, practical and purposeful.

These traits and virtues are important and impressive, but they don’t explain the secret of Yitzhak Rabin’s charm. For me, the secret of his charm was that he was an Israeli patriot above all else.

When it came to the most important issues concerning  Israel, Rabin made decisions – sometimes after great hesitation – that he believed were essential for  the future and the security of the country.

When it was necessary to fight, he fought like a lion. When he thought it was time to forge ahead on the path to peace, he walked that road. At every step throughout his entire life, , Yitzhak Rabin weighed his options, made a decision and took action with the conviction that  he was ensuring our security and future.

I think that everyone who worked with Rabin, everyone who met him or heard him speak, everyone who agreed  or disagreed with him, knew that he believed wholeheartedly in what he was doing.

At each transition in his life – from young warrior on behalf of  our new country to prime minister – his decisions were grounded in what he believed was best for the country.

I always respected Rabin, even when I disagreed with him. I knew, even if we didn’t see eye to eye, that his judgment and decisions were the product of  personal soul-searching regarding what he believed was best for the country.

Members of Knesset,

On that night that none of us will ever forget – and that will always be part of our nation’s history – on the night of November 4th, a despicable murderer aimed his gun at the Prime Minister’s exposed back.

On that night, an Israeli patriot was vanquished by a murderer who fired a bullet at the heart of the nation.

Fourteen years have passed since then and I believe that the vast majority of the public has internalized the lessons of tolerance and restraint. Our conduct in  difficult situations over the past few years proves this true. But there are still a few among us who are unwilling to accept democratic decisions and the primacy of law. They do not represent the majority of Israelis. They are a small, insignificant minority. But we have already witnessed the power of a single murderer and the damage he can cause.

We must expose and condemn every instance of violence and mobilize the full strength of the law and law enforcement against all attempts to use violence.

Rabin family – Dalia, Yuval, Rachel and grandchildren,

Your family bears the daily pain of loss and bereavement. You were intimately familiar with the man behind the image – the concerned father, the loving grandfather. And better than any of us, you knew the leader who worked on behalf of our people and country with complete devotion and faith.

I pray in my heart that we – Israel’s leaders and elected officials – can follow  the principle that guided Yitzhak Rabin: to do what’s best for our people. I pray that we always remember to respect each other and the laws of the country when faced with the fateful decisions.

May Yitzhak Rabin’s memory be blessed.