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Israelis no longer divided, Netanyahu says at Rabin memorial

JTA

October 20, 2010 | 2:37 pm

The Israeli people “are no longer divided into two opposite camps,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during the main memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin.

“There is a lot less screaming here now, a lot less animosity. We listen to one another. Our positions are becoming more similar. The gaps are diminishing,” Netanayahu said Wednesday afternoon at the gravesite of the assassinated prime minister and his wife, Leah, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. “One part of the nation has recognized the fact that we cannot continue to exist without order and without compromises, while another part of the nation understands today that it is not the only one aspiring for peace, that Israel is not nearing the end of days, and that not everything is in our hands.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres and Rabin’s daughter Dalia spoke at the ceremony marking 15 years since Rabin was murdered during a peace rally. Rabin’s son, Yuval, recited the Kaddish prayer.

The assassination “must not be forgiven or forgotten,” Peres said Tuesday afternoon at a candlelighting ceremony in memory of Rabin.

Peres spoke about the man with whom he was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. Rabin family members, public figures, youth movement members and students attended the ceremony.

“We are holding a memorial evening because we must fight forgetfulness,” Peres said. “Such forgetfulness is the enemy of man. It’s also puts democracy in danger.”

Also Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised Rabin during a speech at a conference.

“Yitzhak Rabin was a real fighter and a man of peace,” Barak said at a kibbutz in Shefayim, 15 miles north of Tel Aviv. “We have not forgotten him for a single moment, but we must all do more to make sure today’s youth know about Rabin and the influence he had on Israel.”

A ceremony on Monday morning at the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv marked the coming anniversary.

“Yitzhak Rabin is not with us today, but his spirit and legacy continue to guide us, and with that his hope that there will be an equal, united and inventive society here,” said the army’s chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.

A national memorial ceremony is scheduled for Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, where the prime minister was gunned down on Nov. 4, 1995 by Yigal Amir, for later in October

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