The 27th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination comes days after elections with Lapid, Netanyahu speaking.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke Sunday at a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem for the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated 27 years ago by a young extremist.
“As fate would have it, this commemoration for Yitzhak Rabin, comes just days after the State of Israel went to the elections and came back again divided, again angry, threatening to again to split between us and them,” Lapid said.
“Rabin’s murder was an attempt to assassinate the very ideology of a life. We barely survived it, but the wounds have not yet healed. It is our job to heal them every day anew. We are here together. Religious and secular, right-wing, left-wing and centrist. The differences of opinion are deep, real, sometimes necessary, but above all we have a shared responsibility. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is all of us, the police are is all of us, the justice system is all of us,” the premier continued.
Lapid recalled that an “absolute majority of Israeli citizens are not ready to let hatred rule their lives. We must decide now, at this moment, where the country is going. We are close to the point of no return, but it is still in our hands. We can still change direction.”
“The government I led lost the elections last week. I’m not going to waste my life hating whoever won. I’m not about to turn my back on those who didn’t choose us. Those who believe in Israeli democracy when they win must also believe in it when they lose. We will fight to return to power. This is also Rabin’s legacy, this is also part of his biography, never give up on this what we believe in,” he said.
While his bloc did not win enough mandates to be able to form a government, Lapid stressed that “the right answer is not to despair, but to fight for these values. Yitzhak Rabin was a soldier of the army of peace. I am a soldier in the army of democracy. This is the war of the times. We will protect the rule of law and the independence of the court over human dignity.”
“What we must learn from the life and death of Yitzhak Rabin is that love of country is above all love for the people who live with you in this country,” he concluded.
Incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a memorial for Rabin held at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, after the ceremony at Mount Herzl.
The opposition leader called the murder of Rabin an “attack on democracy.”
“Yitzhak Rabin was a patriot. A lover of this country. He fought for Israel and managed the military and represented Israel in the world. Above all, he was an elected leader of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“The bullets that took his life remind us that we must never allow the fist to replace the force of convincing.”
Netanyahu vowed to work together in the spirit of Rabin, “despite our differences,” as he is about to become prime minister again with a right-wing bloc of 64 seats in the next Knesset.