President Isaac Herzog this evening addressed the annual memorial ceremony at Yad LaShiryon, Latrun, for the fallen servicemen and women of the IDF Armored Corps, this year marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur War.
In his speech he addressed key regional developments and the ongoing challenges faced by Israel, and Israeli society.
President Herzog said, "These are challenging and difficult - even dangerous - days for us as a society and as a country. Socially, economically and most importantly from a security perspective - the internal crisis poses a threat. We see the photos and reports of our enemies gloating and rejoicing - when they mistakenly interpret the debate between us as an internal disintegration, God forbid - this is a warning sign. Thus, for example, in the words of Dr. Maravuch Nazar, a senior cleric in the Arab world and a renowned and staunch hater of Israel, who was recently interviewed on a program entitled: 'An imminent fact - Israel is approaching disintegration'. In his interview he said that “Israel will not come to an end in the blink of an eye… but there are preliminary signs of this and they are clear: a rift within Israeli society and internal disputes”.
The President continued, “Just before Yom Kippur, and at the time when we mark the anniversary of that terrible war, it is time for soul-searching, for learning lessons and for displaying national responsibility. If we don't draw lessons from the Yom Kippur War - if we continue to be held prisoner to paradigms, if we continue to walk with our heads in the sand, if we miss opportunities for a peaceful home within. There will be a heavy price to pay for this. National resilience and state security are directly related to the internal Israeli situation. Our elected officials must internalize this well.”
The President paid tribute to the dedication and sacrifice of the Armored Corps along with all the soldiers of the IDF and said, “The lessons from the Yom Kippur War are numerous and important – crucially among them, the readiness for war. Never, never, must we be caught unprepared. We must not slump into arrogance, with a lack of deterrence and lack of warning. But an equally central lesson, is in the readiness for peace, the recognition of opportunities, which we later learned can change the face of the entire Middle East. The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and the Abraham Accords signed a few years ago, have proven that the Israeli yearning for peace is just, and that the State of Israel has reached out and will continue to reach out to all its neighbors - both near and far.”
The President stressed, “I wholeheartedly welcome the important developments regarding the possibility of a historic agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a very important country, and I believe that a relationship based on partnership and friendship between us can be the foundation for a historic change in the history of the State of Israel and the entire Middle East. This opportunity of course depends on many factors, but I hope and wholeheartedly believe that it will be realized.”
He concluded, “I want to tell you - the heroes of the Yom Kippur War, and members of the bereaved families of the fallen: then, years ago, we could scarcely imagined such developments. But the historical process of the integration of the State of Israel in the Middle East, a process that began with the peace agreement with Egypt and stretches to the existing stage of contacts with Saudi Arabia - is due to you! Thanks to your heroism, thanks to your sacrifice, and thanks to the uncompromising belief in the justness of our path - in the defense of our homeland, and in the pursuit of peace. That's where it all started.”