Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem
6 November 1995
We have not come here to cover your grave, we have come to salute you, Yitzhak, for what you were: a valiant soldier, who bequeathed victories to his people; a great dreamer, who forged a new reality in our region.
Last Saturday night, we joined hands and stood side by side. Together we sang "Shir Hashalom -- The Song of Peace", and I sensed your exhilaration. You told me that you had been warned of assassination attempts at the huge rally. We didn't know who the assailant would be, nor did we estimate the enormity of the assault. But we knew that we must not fear death, and that we cannot be hesitant in seeking peace.
One day earlier, we met privately, as we often did. For the first time, you remarked that the work is arduous. But peace obliges us.
I knew your temperance, and consequently your refusal to be swept away, not even by peace. I knew your wisdom, and hence your caution against premature disclosures. These were the qualities of a captain, and a captain you were since your early adulthood. A daring captain on Israel's battlefields, and a great captain in the campaign for peace in the Middle East.
To be a captain is not a light task, and you were not a lighthearted person. Earnestness became second nature to you, and responsibility your first. These two traits made you a rare leader, capable of uprooting mountains and blazing trails; of designating a goal, and achieving it.
I did not know that these were to be the last hours of our partnership, which knew no bounds. I sensed that a special benevolence had descended upon you, that you could suddenly breathe freely at the sight of the sea of friends who came to support your chosen course and to cheer you.
The peak to which you led us opened wide, and from it you could behold the landscape of the new tomorrow, the landscape promised to the new Israel and its youth.
Yitzhak, the youngest of Israel's generals, and Yitzhak, the greatest of peacemakers: the suddenness of your passing illuminated the abundance of your accomplishments.
You resembled no one; nor did you seek to emulate anyone. You were not one of the "joyous and merry".
You were one who made great demands -- first of yourself, and therefore also of others.
You refused to accept failures, and you were not intimidated by pinnacles.
You knew every detail, and you grasped the overall picture. You shaped the details one by one to form great steps, great decisions.
All your life, you worked hard, day and night. But the last three years were unparalleled in their intensity. You promised to change priorities. Indeed, a new order has arrived, a priority of openness.
New crossroads have been opened, new roads paved; unemployment has declined; immigrants have been absorbed; exports have increased and investments expanded; the economy is flourishing; education has doubled; and science has advanced.
And above all, perhaps at the root of it all, the mighty winds of peace have begun to blow.
Two agreements with our neighbors the Palestinians will enable them to hold democratic elections, and will free us from the necessity of ruling another people -- as you promised.
A warm peace with Jordan invited the great desert between us to become a green promise for both peoples.
The Middle East has reawakened, and a coalition of peace is taking shape: a regional coalition supported by a world coalition, to which the leaders of America and Europe, of Asia and Africa, of Australia and of our region standing alongside your fresh grave bear witness.
They came, as we did, to salute you, and to declare that the course that you began will continue.
This time, Leah is here without you. But the whole nation is with her, and with the family.
I see our people in profound shock, with tears in their eyes. But also a people who know that the bullets that slayed you could not slay the idea which you embraced. You did not leave us a last will, but you left us a path on which we will march with conviction and faith. The nation today is shedding tears. But these are also tears of unity and of spiritual uplifting.
I see our Arab neighbors, and to them I say: the course of peace is irreversible. Neither for us, nor for you. Neither we nor you can stop, delay or hesitate when it comes to peace -- a peace that must be full and comprehensive, for young and old, for all the peoples.
From here, from Jerusalem, where you were born, the birthplace of the three great religions, let us say in the words of the lamentation for Rachel, who passed away on the very day you were slain:
"Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, and there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 31:16-17)
Goodbye, my older brother, prophet of peace. We shall continue to bear this great peace, near and far, as you sought during your lifetime, as you charge us with your death.