Full Text Israel Political Brief May 10, 2016: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Those Who Fell During their Foreign Service Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Those Who Fell During their Foreign Service

Source: PMO, 10-10-16

The names of the 16 people from our Foreign Service who were killed during their service are engraved in iron and stone on the wall of commemoration behind me. The acted bravely and with great dedication to bring word of Israel to the nations. Their lives were cut short by malicious hands. We do not only remember our loved ones through this physical memorial, but first and foremost in our hearts, in the nation’s consciousness, with gratitude to its emissaries for their contribution in strengthening the country’s position.

Our people here in Israel and abroad have for many years faced a dual front: first, on the public diplomacy front where they have been conducting a continual campaign to convince the world of the justness of our actions, deepen our international ties, gain public support and curb the many lies about the Jewish state.

The second front is that of their personal safety. As those who represent sovereign Israel, they themselves are a target for attack. Employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are under threat from parties that use every method available to undermine the relations between Israel and countries around the world. Our representatives stand guard to beat back political propaganda attacks, and because of this they may become victims of physical attacks.

I remember well the first incident. Edna Pe’er’s name is engraved here on the wall. I was a soldier in the Special Forces at the time, and I remember the great shock the Israeli public felt after what happened in Asuncion. Since ancient times it was customary that diplomats were off limits. Not only were they off limits, they were the limit, and it became clear that all-encompassing terror would strike at this foundation of our relations. My fellow soldiers in the unit and I felt at the time that we had to act vigorously against these terrorists who had no consideration for human lives.

Over the years, the State of Israel has had many significant achievements in its determined campaign against terror and against terror directed at diplomats. Warnings keep coming. Clearly, in most cases we are successful in stopping terrorist attacks in Israel and abroad. I say most cases because unfortunately we have experienced tragedies we were unable to stop, during which we lost the best of our people – in Turkey, in London, in Argentina – and every tragedy is burned into our skin.

We make efforts, mainly through the Mossad and the ISA, to defend ourselves and all our employees in the Foreign Service and our representatives abroad. This effort is large-scale, it is unique and it has saved many hundreds of lives, not only in our Foreign Service, but also in the Foreign Services of other countries.

Sometimes these efforts are successful by a hairsbreadth. Here, several years ago, in the situation room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we dealt with a siege that grew ever tighter around our people in the Israeli embassy in Cairo. A wild mob came to slaughter our people and that night we worked with all the tools at our disposal, including threats to extract them using the IDF, which finally tipped the scale and the Egyptian forces, then under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, together with tight coordination on our end from the situation room, and eventually led to a successful outcome in this instance.

The employees of the office and I spoke with the security officer in charge. He told me over the radio, “My name is Yoni”. And I told him, “Yoni, the State of Israel will get you out of there”. I regret that we were unable to do so in other cases that we commemorate today, but I do want to tell you that we spare no effort in defending you while you are defending our country.

Israel is in the eye of a storm. In many ways it serves as the vanguard in the ongoing fight against terror, including terrorism directed at diplomats. There are no compromises to be made with bloodthirsty extremists. We owe ourselves and the following generations a crushing victory by the forces of freedom and enlightenment. At the same time, we continue the mission of those who fell during their Foreign Service, and are expanding in an unprecedented manner, as you here know, the scope of our diplomatic ties – a tight net of relations with approximately 160 countries – and there is still more to be done.

Countries around the world are taking advantage of our capabilities in the fight against terror. They are also growing closer to us because of our proven technological innovation, and this is why Israel is courted and pursued, parallel to the various attacks that continue to be waged against us. I am certain that this accomplishment would make our lost loved ones very proud. Their lives were cut short, but their life’s mission, this mission, is being realized in an impressive fashion.

Dear families, bereaved families, we all bow our heads in memory of the fallen. Losing them left deep wounds on your hearts, all our hearts. The entire nation shares your pain, and of course so does the Foreign Service family from throughout its history. We will continue to pursue the realization of their last will and testament – safeguarding the strength, security, prosperity and well-being of our country. May their memories forever be blessed.

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Full Text Israel Political Brief May 10, 2016: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers Yom Hazikaron Transcript

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Address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Opening Ceremony of the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers

Source: PMO, 10-10-16 

Honorable Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein,
Distinguished guests, first and foremost my brothers and sisters, members of the bereaved families,

As the son of a bereaved family, I, like you, carry the weight of despair. I know the depths of sadness and the agonizing pain of loss. They are relentless. When I received the news of my brother and later had to break it to my parents, my whole world collapsed. The same thing happened to you. We spend the remainder of our lives struggling to emerge from the ruins. It never fully happens, but there is new life. Today I spoke with the mother of Ben Vanunu, a remarkable young boy who fell in Operation Protective Edge. Sarit and Ilan welcomed a daughter into the world today, and tears of sadness and joy mix together.

Twenty three thousand, four hundred and forty seven – this is the number of Israel’s fallen soldiers, in honor of whom we bow our heads today – in grief, silence, admiration and gratitude. The day bereavement first enters our doorstep is the day our loved ones become no longer just ours. While they fundamentally belong to us, a part of our flesh that has been cut off, they also belong to the nation, a nation that pays tribute to them today and acknowledges the enormity of their sacrifice. Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, Circassians, men and women – we all share one fate.

Anyone who has ever lost a son, a brother, a father, a daughter or a friend has cried out: Why? I myself asked the exact same question when my brother was killed. But in time I came to understand that the question should be: For what? What is the purpose? What is the meaning of the price that we have paid? Our sons and daughters went to battle with their heads held high. They died for a higher calling – to ensure Israel’s existence and guarantee its future. This is precisely the difference, the whole difference, between a beaten and oppressed nation, a persecuted nation that is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers, as we were until 68 years ago, and a nation that lives on its land, builds its country, controls its destiny. But the price is horrible. We know more than anyone how horrible it is.

I try to familiarize myself with the personal stories of many of the fallen. So much power is embodied in what they themselves said and wrote. Avraham Lustig, who fought in the War of Independence and was killed in the Convoy of 35, wrote in his journal a day before he went to battle that suffering is okay and death is okay as long as you know why and what for. Eliraz Peretz, son of our friend Miriam, who fell six years ago on the border with Gaza, adopted this principle: “If you love, love with no limits; if you are going to be friends, be friends with no limits; and if you are going to be a combat soldier, then without limits and give it your all.” Eliav Gelman, an officer in an elite unit who was killed two months ago at the Gush Etzion Junction while trying to protect civilians from a knife-wielding terrorist, used to say to his soldiers: “Self-sacrifice for higher values such as love for the Land of Israel, connection to the succession of generations and contribution to the greater good is what enables our people’s existence in its land.” It is an ongoing account of resilience and strength – on the battlefield, in protecting our borders and at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.

My brothers and sisters, dear families, life in an era of revival and rebirth exacts a personal price and a national price. But our people’s spirit is strong and we believe in the Glory of Israel.

As a 3,000-year-old nation determined to protect its land, we will continue to stand strong in the face of our enemies, build our land, develop our country and guarantee our existence. We will not lose hope for reconciliation with our enemies, but we will first make peace within ourselves. True reconciliation comes from our shared destiny, and there is no deeper or more noble expression of this shared destiny than this day, the day we remember with great love and admiration our sons and daughters, the heroes who sacrificed their lives so that we can live in our land.

May the memory of our loved ones – Israel’s fallen soldiers – be forever blessed.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 5, 2014: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Yom HaZikaron Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

Source: PMO, 5-5-14
יום שני ה’ אייר תשע”ד

Photo by GPO

-Translation-

Distinguished guests, my brothers and sisters in the families of the bereaved,

Yesterday at the Yad Labanim memorial ceremony held here in Jerusalem, I heard the remarks of a bereaved mother named Idit Shema, who spoke of her inability to explain the depth of her pain to anyone who had not experienced such grief. I told her, “Idit, it may very well be that you are correct, that it is very difficult and perhaps impossible for anyone who has not experienced such grief firsthand to fully internalize the meaning of grief, the magnitude of the grief we experience, the tremendous shock that gripped us, the sense of loss, of missed opportunities, that fills us”.

On that same terrible day when the graves of our loved ones gaped open in front of us, there we sat, there we wept remembering our sons and brothers who fell for Zion. We feel the grief of the widows, of the orphans, of the siblings, and there is no pain worse than that of parents who learn of their children’s death. The blow when they hear the bitter news, like the cutting of flesh, cuts mercilessly into their consciousness, it shatters routine and it does not let up, day or night. It is endless suffering.

I saw this firsthand when my parents were thrown in the dark pit of grief after my eldest brother fell. It is a deep pit with slick walls, difficult to climb out of, and in a certain sense they never climbed out of it. However, one can deal with the grief, go on, reintegrate into the flow of life, one can create and build and contribute and strengthen others, but never forgetting, always remembering – but also taking comfort in knowing that our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, all gave their lives to build our country and aid its survival.

The fallen came from every part of the country, from every sector of the population, from every walk of life – Jews and non-Jews, Druze, Christians, Bedouin, Circassian – and all Israel’s citizens appreciate their sacrifice which allows us to live here, to live in an independent country that is so proud of its citizens, in a country that is a national home for our people.

It is true that in generations before the establishment of the state, in the years of exile, our blood spilt in a tremendous wave, but the horrific pain then was often boundless, without purpose and almost always without a response, whereas here in Israel, the cure for this pain is understanding its purpose.

One mother, a Holocaust survivor who lost all her relatives to the crematoria, told me, “My son fell wearing a uniform, holding a weapon in defense of Israel”. Another woman told me, “My brother fell as an officer on a tank turret and was not led like a lamb to slaughter”. And indeed, the enormity of the change that took place in our people’s fate with the establishment of a military defense force in our country is clearer today than ever.

A short distance from here, several hundred kilometers north of Jerusalem, a horrible massacre is taking place, slaughter is taking place on a daily basis, and has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people who do not have the power to defend themselves. Does anyone have any doubt that this would have been our fate as well if it were not for the strength of the IDF and the courage of our fighters?

The IDF and the security forces are the only thing that differentiates the slaughter of our people in the past from our current situation. Israel is a strong country, a secure country that can defend itself against any threat and any harm. However, this security was bought at a cost too heavy to bear, with the loss of our loved ones. I said there is no greater pain than losing a son or daughter, but there is – when two children fall. This further blow, after you are certain the worst had already happened, doubles and triples the magnitude of the grief. It is inconceivable, but apparently it too can be dealt with.

Tonight, when the Independent Day celebrations begin, Miriam Peretz, a noble and courageous woman, will stand on this mountain and light a torch in honor of the State of Israel. Her two sons, Uriel and Eliraz, may their memories be blessed, both IDF officers, fell in defense of their homeland. Miriam is a symbol of the bravery of the people of Israel. She illuminates the world through her good works, by strengthening the other, by empowering the spirit. She and others like her, at all levels of society, spread light and hope. Where the darkness seems infinite, their giving is infinite.

“For there is hope for a tree: if it is felled it can still renew itself, and its branching will not cease”, it says in the Book of Job. Who knows better than I that there is no absolute cure for loss and pain: We know that this hole can never be filled, but despite this we find new strength within, and there is strength from without, from the embrace the entire nation gives us and our families, the family of bereavement, today and on others days.

On the Day of Remembrance and on Independence Day which follows, we feel part of one family, all of us together. At these moments the significance of the magnitude of the accomplishment in establishing the State of Israel, building and developing it, becomes clear. We all have the privilege to live in dedication to our country, something that previous generations could only dream of or perhaps simply imagine: An Israel that is democratic, free, advanced, vibrant and strong, an Israel that is a moral beacon, a country that desires peace, which successfully deals with the unceasing threats against its security, determined to withstand any test.
We once sang, “Here in the land yearned for by generations, all our hopes will be realized”. My friends, they are being realized: Thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to its fighters, thanks to those who have fallen, those who loved their country, defenders of their land, whose deaths allowed us to live and to renew our freedom.

On this day, with heads lowered but not bowed, with deep pain and pride, we all salute the fallen of Israel’s security forces, our brothers and sisters, heroes all.
May their memories be forever cherished.

Israel Brief April 14, 2013: Israel’s Memorial Day / Yom Hazikaron ceremonies begin

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Israel’s Memorial Day ceremonies begin

Source: UPI.com, 4-14-13

Israel observed its Memorial Day — Yom Hazikaron — Sunday with a ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other officials….READ MORE

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