Jerusalem, Israel - May 13, 2024 - Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks, today (Sunday, 12 May 2024), at the opening ceremony of Remembrance Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers, at Yad Lebanim in Jerusalem [translated from Hebrew]:

"Distinguished guests, and above all on this sacred day, my brothers and sisters in the family of bereavement: Parents, siblings, grandparents, spouses and partners of the soldiers who fell in Israel's wars.

They are joined by the victims of terrorism, wonderful Israelis, who loved our nation and country.

I think about you every day, just like I think about my older brother Yoni every day.

And I think of the ache and the sense of yearning that will not yield, the feeling that the sun has extinguished, I think about the heroes that we lost, about broken dreams, shattered hopes.

Our beloved are always before our eyes, with the clear knowledge that the State of Israel exists thanks to them.

That is our crutch, our consolation.

Amichai Weitzen was a member of the security team in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the Gaza Envelope.

On October 7th, the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, Amichai and his friends fought with admirable courage. They engaged in a drawn-out fire fight with a large force of terrorists attacking the kibbutz.

They stopped the terrorists with their bodies. The harsh battle lasted many hours. Here, the kibbutz was saved and a massacre was prevented. But Amichai and his friend Yedidya Raziel were killed.

Out of a sense of shared destiny, Amichai's father, Rabbi Shlomo Yossef Weitzen, has visited the homes of other families. When he arrived at the home of Gilad Nitzan, a soldier in the Givati Brigade who fell in Gaza, Gilad's father, Yaakov asked him: 'Where will we find the strength to go on?' The two fathers answered each other: 'We draw the strength from our sons. We raised a determined and dedicated generation. It is a generation that strives to live life to the fullest, but it also knows that being prepared to sacrifice life at the moment of truth means a life full of meaning.'

Distinguished guests,

This generation continues the work of its predecessors defending the country. In the last few months, it has revealed itself in its full strength.

The more we hear about the horrific massacre, the more tales of heroism are exposed.

Soldiers on the front line, community security teams, police officers, NSA teams, fire fighters, rescue and medical teams, and many regular citizens – they did not sit idly by and took action.

They risked their lives and charged forward against the Hamas monsters to save anyone they could. They jumped into the flames with a sense of mutual responsibility, a desire to overcome the abominable murderers, love for their country, an inseparable bond to our land and our shared destiny.

These are all anchors of strength that will bring us victory, God willing. As is written in the Book of Nehemiah: 'Fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.'

All of our soldiers in this difficult war have an ironclad commitment to our country: Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouin and Circassian.

A few months ago, I paid a condolence visit to the Abu Latif family in Rahat. I embraced the family members of the Bedouin soldier Ahmad Abu Latif who fell in battle. I told them that I understand what they are experiencing. Like them, my parents suffered greatly when my brother was killed. Tewfik, Ahmad's father, told me that his son would say: 'I am proud to be a Bedouin who serves in the IDF.'

When Ahmad joined his army unit on October 7th, he said that he would not return home until the last of the hostages was back at home. Ahmad did not get to see that mission completed. We have achieved about half, but we are committed to complete this sacred task.

A month before the visit in Rahat, I visited the Bedouin reconnaissance battalion. One of the Bedouin officers described the horrors he witnessed on October 7th on his way to Gaza. He rushed to join his unit, and on the way he saw a woman who had been murdered. I will not detail what he saw, but he said to me: "It is that abomination that we are fighting." And he stressed we. We all fight together. Because it is the only way to defeat the Hamas monsters, who want to annihilate us all.

Dear families,

Citizens of Israel,

Out of the darkness, we also see rays of light emerging.

Police Officer Avi Amar fell while fighting the terrorists in Kibbutz Be'eri. His wife Pazit had a baby boy after he was killed. She named the baby Or, light.

Amit Guetta from the Maglan Unit fell in battle. His wife Gal had a baby boy after he was killed. She named the baby Oz, courage.

Yehonatan Lober from the Re'em Brigade also fell in the Gaza Strip. His wife Avia had a baby boy after her husband was killed. She named the baby Amatzya, a name that combines bravery and faith.

Or, Oz and Amatzya – light, courage, bravery and faith – continue the path of our heroes. The spirit of our fallen soldiers secures our future.

I wish all the wounded a full recovery in their rehabilitation journey.

I visited them in hospital, I was moved to hear their stories. All of them, even those who had lost limbs, said to me, 'We are lifted by the spirit of the nation.' 'Continue until victory,' and we will.

The spirit of the nation will continue to lift us in the fatal challenges we still face, and as we mark our 76th Independence Day.

May the memory of the fallen soldiers of Israel's wars and the victims of terrorism be treasured in our hearts forever."