At terror victims memorial, Netanyahu vows to fight ‘barbaric’ extremist Islam
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At terror victims memorial, Netanyahu vows to fight ‘barbaric’ extremist Islam

PM says there are signs of change in the region, stemming from recognition that Israel is determined to protect its people

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Memorial Day ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, April 18, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Memorial Day ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, April 18, 2018. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)

Speaking at the annual memorial ceremony for victims of terror on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight terrorism, which he called a “global disease” caused by extremist Islam.

The ceremony, at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, was also attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and bereaved families.

It commemorated the 3,134 people killed in terror attacks since before the state’s founding.

“In the depths of grief, that it where we are all united,” Netanyahu said. “We will not stop grappling with terror. It is a global illness that is raging around us as well as in distant countries as a result of the barbaric fanaticism of extremist Islam.

“We are determined to stand with them against these fanatics and against the persistent incitement of our neighbors, large portions of whom still refuse to accept our existence,” he said.

The prime minister noted that while many in the region still deny Israel’s right to exist, the situation is changing.

“If there are signs of change, and there are, they arise first of all out of the recognition of our determination to protect our land and our people,” Netanyahu said. “This is our homeland and here we will live, with God’s help, forever.”

In the past 12 months, 12 Israeli civilians were killed in terror attacks. The last was Adiel Kolman, who was fatally stabbed in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 18.

Kolman, 32, a father of four, died of his wounds several hours after he was stabbed by 28-year-old Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel from Aqraba, near the West Bank city of Nablus. Fadel was shot dead at the scene by police.

Adiel Kolman, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 19 2018 (Courtesy)

Earlier Netanyahu spoke at the annual memorial ceremony for fallen IDF soldiers and members of the security services, also held at Mount Herzl.

Since 1860, when the first Jewish neighborhood was established outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls, a total of 23,646 men and women have died while serving in the security services of Israel and the pre-state Jewish community, according to official figures.

At 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Memorial Day will end with the national torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl that will usher in Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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