At the State Memorial Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that “Rabin’s murder was one of the nation’s greatest moments of division.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke and said that “freedom of expression must be preserved, woe to us if not.”

Netanyahu pays his respects to Yitzhak Rabin

Netanyahu pays his respects to Yitzhak Rabin Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Twenty-two years have passed since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Official memorial ceremonies are being held in his honor today (Wednesday), beginning with the State Memorial Ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Hertl. During the ceremony, Yuval Rabin, the son of the late prime minister, condemned the rife hatred and incitement in Israel and called on Netanyahu- though not by name- to denounce the troubling phenomena.

“Yitzhak Rabin took upon himself the task of creating a new reality,” said Yuval Rabin. “There were many enemies at home and from the outside. Besides the external enemies, the number one threat has been exposed: incitement.” 

“No one sitting here loved Israel more than Rabin did, no one is more committed to the citizens than Rabin was nor are they more Jewish than Rabin was,” he continued. “The mechanism that was activated against Rabin continues to strike us, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a traitor. Even when he was exposed to the waves of hatred, he was still the prime minister of all of the people- that is not the case today. Today, the list of traitors grows and gets longer daily, from senior officers to artists, and there is no one to say, ‘That’s it, stop this madness.’ The time has come for everyone sitting here today to stop the madness and stop those who feed the incitement and hatred.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a speech that “Rabin was a man of great deeds, a prime minister, a Knesset member and a military commander. But there is a title that can not be taken from him: the guardian of the walls of Jerusalem. Yitzhak Rabin was ready to make painful concessions for peace. His concessions were, for me, like a cut to the flesh, but when it came to Jerusalem, he was like a wall.”

“We have learned that there are wreckers and destroyers among us and we need to be protected even from those he who believes that he wants what’s best for the country,” Rivlin said. “Rabin’s murder was one of the nation’s greatest moments of division, an emergency situation. For the first time, democracy and the statehood were in real danger…But democracy cannot allow violence- violence, like Rabin said, erodes the foundations of democracy.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the shocking murder of Rabin, a military commander and leader, put us to the test. Rabin’s assassination requires that we condemn violence, freedom of expression must be preserved- woe to us if not.”