Text size

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday remembered the late Yitzhak Rabin as a patriot, as Israel marked 14 years since the assassination of the former prime minister.

Netanyahu called Rabin a man who "made declarations he believed in and that he thought were important for the welfare of the state of Israel.

Netanyahu made his remarks at a special session of the Knesset on Thursday to honor the slain prime minister.

"We must repeatedly denounce all violence and apply all the weight of the law and law enforcement authorities against any attempt to use violence," said Netanyahu.

The prime minister added that he believes the public has internalized the lessons of Rabin's death.

"Even today, there is a minority among us that is unwilling to accept democratic decisions and the authority of the law," Netanyahu said. "They are a small minority on the margins of society, but we have already seen the power and damage caused by an individual murderer."

Israel marked Rabin's death with an official state memorial service at the national cemetery of Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, among other dignitaries attended the event, which was to be followed by a special commemorative Knesset session.

In his address at the memorial, Netanyahu characterized the day of memorial as a "national wound etched in pain and shame."

President Shimon Peres lauded his slain colleague during the memorial as having been a man focused on leading Israel toward peace, even if that mission has not yet been accomplished.

"The sense of loss experienced by the people of Israel was also personal," said Peres. "The image of Rabin had always been the image of Israel."

"Yitzhak was required to deal with two situations: Consolidating the nation with war and leading it, with divided opinions, onto a path of peace. In both situations, Yitzhak directed his gaze at the truth," said Peres. "He didn't seek fake honor. He didn't hide facts. He didn't deceive and he didn't collapse."

"He knew a military victory was not the purpose of war, but rather the impetus to achieve the true goal: a permanent achievement, to trade war for peace," said Peres.

"Yitzhak succeeded in being steadfast without being arrogant, in carrying the greatness of Israel without being haughty, in not surrendering to external pressures and in not ignoring external signs," added the president.

"I am proud of what we achieved during Rabin's leadership, in our shared journey, even if the work has yet to be completed," said Peres. "I am proud of the negotiations that have allowed a majority of Palestinians to declare a passage from terror to diplomacy."

Rightists urge students: Boycott Rabin memorials

Meanwhile, right-wing activists descended upon Jerusalem schools on Thursday morning with fliers urging students to boycott memorial ceremonies commemorating Rabin's assassination.

The fliers condemn the assassination, which was carried out by extreme rightist Yigal Amir, but also speak out against continuing "Rabin's legacy."

The fliers emphasize that the message is not against "Rabin as a person," but against "the memory and immortalization of Rabin's legacy."

In place of the memorials, the fliers ask students to recognize the fact that Rabin's legacy is that which "allows shooting at a solitary immigrant boat, simply because the political opinions of the people on that boat were different from those endorsed by Rabin."

The fliers also said that Rabin's legacy is one which supports "disrespecting others, abolition of all opposition," and accuses it of demonizing the entire settler population as well as all right-wing activists.

"Handing weapons over to terrorists, abandoning areas of the homeland, and disregard for the life of Jews," are also characteristic of Rabin's legacy, the fliers said, one which "brought upon the Oslo agreement as well as terror and bombings in the name of peace with our enemies.

The fliers conclude by saying that "Rabin's legacy failed; Rabin caused a disaster."