The actions of Yigal Amir, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, will never be condoned and he must never be absolved from serving out the entirety of his life sentence, President Shimon Peres said Tuesday. ”The murderer will never be forgiven,” he said. “He will never be pardoned.”
Speaking at the President’s Residence during a ceremony to mark the 18th anniversary of the assassination, Peres praised the slain prime minister, and stated that passing on Rabin’s legacy to further generations was essential if Israel was to achieve peace in the region.
“I feel as though Yitzhak was murdered yesterday – I miss him and we have all missed him from that day to this one, every single day,” he said. ”Yitzhak knew that the path of peace was the hardest of all. He never lied to himself but he believed that the Zionist interest, the national interest… was based upon reaching a peace deal with our neighbors and especially with the Palestinians.”
Peres went on to assert that a two-state solution was necessary in order to guarantee security for both Israel and the Palestinians.
“Many of Yitzhak’s opponents in the past understand that today,” Peres said. ”Almost two decades have passed and Yitzhak’s [memorial] candle is a beacon of remembrance and a torch of hope.”
Rabin served as Israel’s chief of staff during the Six Day War in 1967. He was later ambassador to the US, defense minister and twice prime minister. In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Peres — then Israel’s foreign minister — and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat for his part in signing the Oslo peace accords a year earlier.
Rabin’s son, Yuval, who spoke at the event as well, warned of the “worrying trends” in Israeli society today and said that opponents had wrongly asserted that Rabin’s policies gave rise to Palestinian terrorist activities.
“Giving up in advance or blaming others – that was not Yitzhak Rabin’s way,” Yuval Rabin said. ”It is malicious and cynical to claim that terrorism is due to [the] Oslo [accords]. The process of escalation of terrorism is an ongoing one and, no doubt, many factors contribute to it, but one thing is consistently clear — the perpetrators are the opponents of compromise.”
Also Tuesday, Education Minister Shai Piron said at a youth rally to commemorate Rabin that the murder had deeply influenced his policy on education, and that the assassinated prime minister had promoted tolerance and understanding among Israelis.
“The assassination was a turning point in my relationship with Israeli society,” said Piron. ”The State of Israel cannot exist without a place of honor for various positions within it. These are days in which we wish to include all: the right and the left, the skullcap-bearing and those whose head is covered only by the open sky, Jew and Muslim and Christian and Druze and any other minority member.”
Over 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday night for the main annual memorial event marking the assassination of Rabin.
The ceremony, titled “Remembering the murder, fighting for democracy,” was held in the square where Rabin was shot dead on November 4, 1995, by Amir. Originally called Malchei Yisrael Square, it was renamed Rabin Square following the assassination.
The memorial was marked by the attendance of a large number of young people, organized by the Dror Israel youth group with several other such groups.