From the foothills of Mt. Sinai to the edges of Rabin Square, one commandment has stood firm throughout the generations: Thou shalt not kill. Do not kill a person. Do not kill an idea.

 

 Address by President Peres on the 15th memorial day marking the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

 

President Shimon Peres (Photo: Mark Neiman)

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

This evening (Tuesday, 19 October 2010), the President of the State of Israel commenced the remembrance events marking 15 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z”l with a candle lighting ceremony in the President’s Residence. The President made a speech and lit a “Yitzhak remembrance candle” in the slain Prime Minister’s memory.

In his speech, the President described the days and the evening preceding the murder, and addressed reports that today’s youth does not remember who Yitzhak Rabin was: “A ‘Yitzhak remembrance candle’ was lit this evening on the 15th anniversary of his murder. This is a candle of the commitment to peace. He vowed that its flame will never be extinguished. From the foothills of Mt. Sinai to the edges of Rabin Square, one commandment has stood firm throughout the generations: Thou shalt not kill. Do not kill a person. Do not kill an idea. Murder is a crime that may never be forgiven or forgotten. Neither the flow of time nor attenuation nor euphoria nor fatigue can avert us from this commandment. We observe a day of remembrance because we must fight against forgetfulness. Such forgetfulness is the enemy of humankind, and also endangers democracy.”

The President described the character of Rabin’s leadership: “Yitzhak knew that a leader does not rest on yesterday’s laurels. He led according to a vision. He knew that in today’s volatile reality, he who tarries is in danger. He who dares, reaches far-flung, powerful realms. Yitzhak did not fear what may come because he knew that there is no escaping it, and that it must be faced head-on. You make what you must out of it, in order to see the morrow come, even if at a higher price than today’s rates. Yitzhak was determined to move forwards towards peace, although he was aware of the difficulties from without and from within. The difficulties were not merely theoretical. He felt a tailwind at home and stood against a raging wind from the outside. He did not try to sugarcoat tough situations or evade dealing with them. He let neither himself nor others harbor false hopes. He knew that confronting the new reality would involve heavy risks, but that thereby, and sometimes only thereby, lay the greatest chances.”

At the end of his speech the President said, “The tears have not dried up. The candles have not expired. Nor has the evening. We shall return to the oath secreted in our hearts – we shall not forget his image. We shall not digress from his path. Peace is his last will and testament.”

Participating in the ceremony were the Rabin family, officials from the highest echelon of the Israeli government, members of the youth movements, and schoolchildren from the Rabin school in Shoham. Family representative Yuval Rabin also gave a speech in memory of Prime Minister Rabin.