Commemorating Israel's Fallen, Netanyahu Vows, 'We Won't Give in to Fear'

Netanyahu stresses about Hamas' recent reconciliation deal with Fatah that Israel does not believe the 'leopard has changed its spots.'

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating victims of terror held shortly after the official state Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel will not surrender to fear.

"We will strike our enemies with all our might," Netanyahu said, adding that "the aim of terror is to instill fear, and our answer to this has always been to refuse to give in to fear."

Netanyahu, Memorial Day - Reuters - 8.5.11

Netanyahu also referred to the Hamas after its recent signing of a reconciliation deal with the Fatah, saying that "we will not be tempted to believe that the leopard has changed its spots."

Memorial ceremonies took place on Monday at the country's 44 military cemeteries, to commemorate the 22,867 Israelis killed in service to the state.

The prime minister spoke earlier at the official Memorial Day ceremony of the Yad Labanim memorial organization at Ammunition Hill in the capital and stressed the government's commitment to returning abducted soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity.

Netanyahu said that Israel continues to work "every day" for the return of those soldiers who have disappeared and those that are being held captive. "We work every day for their return, including in ways that may be hidden from view," Netanyahu said. "We will not rest until they are returned."

Memorial Day ends at 8 P.M. with the traditional torch-lighting ceremony, also at Mount Herzl, that marks the commencement of Independence Day.