Twenty-five-thousand memorial candles were lit to commemmorate the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv Thursday.
The day's events were brought to a close in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square – the site of his murder, subsequently renamed for him – at which President Reuven Rivlin and Rabin’s daughter Dalia both spoke. The event was closed to the public, but was broadcast live on YouTube.
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Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, but official events in his remembrance are held on the anniversary according to the Jewish calendar.
“Regrettably, we often hear people – sometimes for substantive reasons and sometimes for cynical ones – who are estranged from and deny this memorial day,” Rivlin said. “They claim that this day and this man have nothing to do with them. And on the other side, there are people who seek to fence in the community that remembers and exclude others from the duty and the privilege of remembering. But on this memorial day, it’s important to remember the abyss and the destruction to which bitter estrangement between ‘us’ and ‘them’ can lead.”
Earlier Thursday, at the official memorial ceremony at the president's residence, Rivlin said that "[t]he country is split like the Red Sea between two camps, and the hatred is simmering underfoot."
"It is unacceptable that signs should be raised that call for the deaths of citizens," Rivlin said.
"It is unacceptable that journalists should live under threat. It is unacceptable that citizens should strike citizens," Rivlin said, likely referring to the violence directed at anti-Netanyahu protesters.
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At the ceremony, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said that Rabin was "very troubled by what we see in this house. We cannot be satisfied with bringing peace upon us, we need to do it. We have no right to exist without military might. None of this is worth it if there is not peace between us." He added, "It's possible to apologize for what happened here in the past 25 years. It's not enough."
Later, at a Knesset session marking the anniversary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the ongoing protest movement against him, saying that threats are being made against him and his family.
"Twenty-five years after Rabin's assassination, incitement to murder the prime minister and his family persists and no one says a word," Netanyahu said.
"We remember the national tragedies that have befallen us in the more distant past, when unbridled zealots took the law into their own hands. If we allow people on the margins to behave this way, then today, too, we may find ourselves at the edge of an abyss," he added.
Following the ceremony, anti-Netanyahu protest marches converged on Rabin Square.