Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's remarks on the ninth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin z"l
Photo by the GPO 

Mr. President and Mrs. Katzav,
Rabin Family,
Distinguished Guests,

It is already the ninth autumn in our land, there are soft beats of the first rain and a chill in the treetops here on the mount.  Every year at this time, we will come to the graves of Yitzhak and Leah, his loyal wife, who accompanied him all the way with dedication and love, and also contributed and volunteered for the good of society, for underprivileged children and families.

Year after year has passed since that bitter and terrible night when Yitzhak was murdered, and the darkness of that night does not leave us and does not fade.  The inconceivable happened, that which never crossed our minds: a traitorous and murderous hand dared to grasp a weapon and end the life of the Prime Minister of Israel.  Israeli democracy – which from its inception entrusted to the voting booths and the Knesset the freedom of decision, even with the most severe disagreements and ideas, by the majority– was stained with the blood of Yitzhak’s heart, a brave and honest heart; there were none more loyal then he to the nation of Israel.

Yitzhak Rabin, born in Jerusalem, fought for Jerusalem in 1948 at the head of the Harel Battalion; commander of the campaign in 1967 which brought about the liberation of Jerusalem and its unification; buried in the earth of Jerusalem.  An entire nation mourned him, united in pain and astonishment.  Presidents and world leaders came here, from the ends of the earth, to escort him to his final rest, and together with all of us they shed tears.

“Your hands were not bound
And your legs were not chained
A villain felled you.”

We walked a long path together, Yitzhak and I, recruits and partners in our mission to defend and maintain the well-being of the Jewish nation.  There were arguments between us even when we were in uniform, and more so in our public and political lives.  They did not diminish the mutual respect and admiration we had for each other, nor the comradeship and friendship which always prevailed between us and went beyond any disagreements.  The disputes were never personal.  They were entirely altruistic, regarding issues pertaining to the spirit of the nation and its destiny.  If in the heat of a genuine argument things were said that should not have been said, I regret that.  Penetrating debates, as deep and sharp as it may be, is the essence of democracy.  Freedom of expression must not be restricted, however one must guard one’s tongue.  We must never forget the lesson of November 4, 1995.

I bow my head to the memory of a soldier, warrior, chief and commander, national leader, friend and antagonist whom I loved and greatly admired.  His absence is tangible and painful, however his presence has not faded away. 

He is inscribed in the heart of the nation and engraved in the stories of the IDF and security of Israel, in chapters of the history of the country which he wished to lead, according to his own path and faith, to achieve rest and tranquility, up to the threshold of peace.

May Yitzhak and Leah’s memories be forever bound to Israel.