Remarks by Interim PM Peres on the Late PM Rabin

Remarks by Interim PM Peres on the Late PM Rabin


  Remarks by Interim Prime Minister Peres at a Special Cabinet Meeting After Assassination of Prime Minister Rabin

November 5, 1995

Today, Israel lost its first son. The leader who proved his excellence in war and his greatness in peace, and who today -- the happiest day in his life, as tens of thousands of people came to express support for his policies and their personal admiration for him -- was happy and at peace with himself. But his last day turned into a tragedy for us all.

I knew perhaps better than anyone else the depth of his devotion and his genuine desire to save the Israeli people from the wars, each of which he knew so well. He sought to set the nation on the difficult, obstacle-ridden path to peace.

He spared no energy, worked day and night, had no spare moments. No detail eluded him, and the broad, overall political picture was always before him.

We would be doing him an injustice if we would fail to acknowledge his mighty effort for the sake of peace. He took an interest in every road, every junction, the educational system as a whole and each and every school. In Israel's international relations, he stood as a leader among leaders of nations. He engendered respect and trust, and was endowed with a wealth of knowledge. It is very difficult for me to speak of him as someone who is no longer with us.

For the last three years we worked together in deep friendship, for friendship's sake, and for the sake of peace and the country. He was a rare leader in the history of the Jewish people, bold in the Israeli way. For the past three years as Prime Minister, he produced a revolution in the Middle East, in the positive sense of the word.

I have asked myself: Had this happened to me, what would I have wanted to happen afterwards? I have only one answer -- to continue on this course, the course of peace.

He did not leave a will, but the last song that he sang was "The Song of Peace". They distributed the words of the song to us. He put those words in his pocket, and the bullet pierced the song. But this song, "The Song of Peace",that echoes in all our ears, will not stop.

I do not think there is anything I need to say to the members of the Cabinet. I feel that all of us, together, will do everything we can to render him, not our last respects, but rather eternal honor.

His life was cut short, but not his work. His spirit has left him, but this spirit has not abandoned us, nor the process in which we are engaged. We are all determined to continue on this great path -- to serve the people, to serve the state, as a country strong and secure, true to its pursuit of peace.

That is all we can do after this terrible tragedy.

I know that threats had been made. I know that Yitzhak was aware of them. He was certainly neither blind nor deaf. He heard the threats, the slanderous words, but he was not frightened. He was prepared to pay any and all costs, and to find within himself the depths and the heights and the clarity of vision which enabled him to give all he had to his nation, to his children, to Israel's youth.

I know a deep mourning has fallen on Israel, on our people, on our neighbors, because he was a rare leader in our nation and a rare leader in our world.

When I look at the map of world leaders, I see no one who worked with greater resolve, skill, devotion and self-sacrifice than Yitzhak Rabin.

It is very difficult for us, difficult for all of us. But we will mobilize this pain to continue along this, his chosen path. May his memory be blessed.

The Cabinet offers its condolences to Leah who was at his side during these moments, as always, in days of joy, days of hardship, and days of mourning, and to his children and grandchildren.

When Leah told me that she is now alone, I told her that she is not alone -- that the entire nation is with her.

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