The Knesset Plenum held a special meeting in memory of Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin of blessed memory marking the 18th anniversary of his murder.
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein began the meeting, which was attended by President Shimon Peres: ”18 years has passed from that bitter evening. The murder of a Prime Minister of Israel at the hands of a Jewish assassin is an unusual event, however, political violence, unfortunately, is not so unusual. It`s possible to deal with violence in general and with political violence specifically. We must deal with it, to stare down the threat and to win the struggle against it. To start off, we must recognize that there is a sickness and not cling to the romantic thought of ”this won`t happen to us”. Secondly, we must expend strength to deal with it on an actual and immediate level. The third step is the most important one – the step of education. We must explain again and again that violence is not a shortcut, but rather makes the road more crooked. We must teach both adults, and children of the folly of political violence, the stupidity of taking the law into your own hands and the foolishness of anarchy.”
Edelstein emphasized that ”despite the fact that I was not among the supporters of Rabin and I disagreed with his entire political approach, I have no doubt that the main lesson from his death at the hands of criminals needs to be the strengthening of our democratic heritage in Israel and the opening of a political dialogue. As speaker of the Knesset, I believe that the Knesset has an important role in implementing these principles into the Israeli public conversation.”
”The memory of Yitzhak Rabin, warrior in the Palmach, Chief of the General Staff during the Six Day War, Defense Minister and Prime Minister will remain a sad light in the memories of Israelis and will serve as an eternal warning of the dangers and the tragedy of societies in which `every man is for himself`” finished Speaker Edelstein.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: ”In the 66 years since our independence we have experienced happy moments and difficult, painful moments. We have known days of fear, pain and sadness, but one black moment will be remembered as an eternal disgrace that will never fade – the night that the Prime Minister was murdered in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Prime Minister was murdered; he was a leader who fought for our independence by a Jewish murderer whose hand did not tremble while he shot. There can be no grace for the murderer now and there can never be in the future. I do not think that the Jewish nation is stuck with the problems that other nations suffer from or that our nation suffered from years ago. We have learned the lesson – we cannot start wars and commit murders amongst ourselves. Our leaders will ensure that this won`t happen. The deep shock that we felt is a warning that we must keep in the minds of all people. Every point of Rabin`s life is marked with public service. A warrior and an officer, Chief of the General Staff of the IDF, ambassador to America and Prime Minister. He was a man of security and peace. Many people of the nation, even those who disagreed with him, admire his faithfulness to the state. He knew how to stand courageously and guard the interests of the state.”
”One time, when many people were invited to dinner in America, he gave his host a gift of a statue of David and Goliath – the fate of the Jewish nation is to believe that we will win due to justice, however it`s good that we have better weapons than David`s slingshot. The government will stand on its principles. It`s important that we have the tools to defend the country. Rabin worked to ensure the resilience of the IDF to protect our future. Without the IDF, the fate of our nation would be like the fate of our nation in exile. The IDF continues to protect our future and helps to achieve peace agreements. Our strength is the guarantee of existence and peace. This is even truer now when the storm rages around us. We don`t want an Iranian offshoot in the West Bank. This requires a stable secure border in the Jordan Valley as Rabin said in his last speech at the Knesset. This applies even more today after we have seen Iranian forces take over the areas evacuated in Lebanon and Gaza.”
”The murder of Rabin was not just an assassination of democracy and an attack on the heart of the nation, but a human tragedy because he was a moral man, modest, opinionated and analytical. Completely open to the changing world around us. When such a man is killed, something dies within us.”
Head of the Opposition, MK Shelly Yachimovich said: ”If there is something that we have not succeeded in doing, it is to create a joint national ethos around the murder. Ideological confrontation is at the heart of democracy, but there are things that cannot be disputed. Rabin was killed because he went about executing policies for which he was elected. He did not surprise those who voted for him, he did exactly as he promised. For this he was elected, for this he was murdered. In order to piece together the wounds of democracy, we must remember the violence in the air which blew up. We must remember the infamous coffin, the Jewish legal arguments as to whether it was prohibited to kill a Prime Minister or not, to remember the pictures which depicted the soldier and officer in the IDF in the uniform of the SS, to remember the death curse and the protests that incited murder. Back then we did not know how far things could fall, how the protests which a democracy must allow, were alleging that it was legitimate to kill.”
”If there is a lesson, it is that it is not enough to elect leaders and then to go to sleep. We must not leave the streets in the hands of the extremes. Our job is to protect our leaders and to be in the streets so that extremists do not disgrace them.