Israelis mark remembrance day with a ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, and Prime Minister Netanyahu shared his personal grief over a slain brother.
President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alongside IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz marked Remembrance Day on Mount Herzl according to Ynet News. The day of remembrance for Israel's fallen soldiers began soon after the Jewish state's war of independence in 1948, however it was officially enacted into law in 1963 by the Knesset.
"The horrific acts of terrorist know no boundaries," said Netanyahu at a ceremony to remember those who have lost their lives due to terrorism against the Jewish state, he went onto say "Their hate and brutality is never satisfied. They have one thing in common: They want to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. They won't do it." Netanyahu continued saying Israel would 'continue creating' and furthermore the Jewish people would continue building, and would remain in Jerusalem according to Ynet.
Addressing those who have committed acts of terrorism against Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his speech, "They are murderers, we are builders. Historically, the Jewish people has always outlasted its enemies. They have disappeared, and we're here. I know that the price paid by the bereaved families is unbearable, and I want to express my thanks and the thanks of the entire nation for their strength, their courage." Prime Minister went onto state that the memory of those Israei's who have lost their lives "live in our hearts forever" Ynet reported.
The event was not without some controversy, Ynet News reported that a victim of terrorism lashed out at Prime Minister Netanyahu, during his speech for agreeing to a prisoner swap which saw hundreds of Palestinians released from Israeli jails in exchange for Gilad Shalit an Israeli soldier whom Hamas captured in 2006. The Times of Israel reported that Yossi Mandelvich's son Yuval was murdered in a terrorist attack in 2003. "This year the sorrow of the terror victims' families was put to a very difficult test. The return of a captive soldier divided the bereaved and the entire public." Mandelvich said. "We were faced with poignant questions: Could a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of entire family be set free? Is it reasonable that a person who committed a gruesome massacre at a hotel celebrate with his family? A soldier was freed, but at what cost? Hamas was the big winner and landed a deal others never dreamed of." In the prisoner swap 1,027 prisoners were released, collectively all had killed over 500 Israeli civilians according to the Times of Israel.
Also Ron Kerman a father of an Israeli high school student in an attack in Haifa, stated he was detained by Shin Bet agents after he attempted to enter the ceremony to deliver a letter to Netanyahu opposing the prisoner swap. Kerman had his letter confiscated and was told to remain quiet during the ceremony according to Ynet News.
Earlier in the day Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about his brother Jonathan, calling him by his Hebrew nickname, "Yoni, I miss you every day, in the little moments and the big ones, in the happy moments and the sad ones. This is how all of us feel, I know that thanks to those who have died, we live." Netanyahu's brother was killed in 1976 during Operation Entebbe a hostage rescue mission to free 98 Israeli's and Jews who were held hostage in Uganda by Palestinian terrorists. Jonathan Netayahu is buried on Mount Herzl where his brother spoke, and today's ceremony took place.
At a ceremony at Kiryat Shaul, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated that those Israel has lost did not die in vain. "Our enemies near and far have not accepted our existence, but they are facing a state that is stronger than ever, a state that would protects its sovereignty in any situation. Let us hope for a day when soldiers are no longer sent to the battlefield." Ynet quoted Barak as saying.
Tonight will be the start of Israel's Independence Day celebration as the Jewish state marks 64 years in existence.