Speaking Tuesday afternoon at the first official event marking Memorial Day, which was held at Jerusalem’s Yad Lebanim memorial for fallen soldiers, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said, ”We do not wish to live by our sword, but for the time being, our enemies leave us with no other choice.”

Edelstein said Israel must continue to maintain a ”strong, advanced and moral” army. The IDF, he stated, ”will continue to be the `people`s army`, not only because of the diversity of its soldiers, but also because it draws its strength and force from the people.”

”We will continue to give full backing to [the IDF`s] soldiers and officers, who constantly deal with very complex and sensitive challenges,” the Knesset Speaker said during the memorial ceremony. ”Only in this manner will we stand strong, armed and vigilant in the face of terror and hatred. If we will not be prepared in the face of the military and diplomatic threats surrounding us, we will not be able to exist here.”

Edelstein concluded his speech by saying ”We strive for a life of creativity, spirit and culture, but if we will not keep one eye on the sight, we will not be able to research and expand our knowledge with the other eye; and if we will not hold a rifle in one arm, we will not be able to build and create with the other.”

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