JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel cannot protect its Jewish and democratic character without peace, former president Shimon Peres said at a memorial for Yitzhak Rabin.
“Peace has become a derogatory term. There are those who say that those who believe in peace are naive, not patriots, delusional,” Peres said Sunday night to thousands of people gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv for the event. “But I say to all those in a clear voice, those who give up on peace are the ones who are delusional.”
Rabin was assassinated 19 years ago by Yigal Amir, who remains in jail. Wednesday marks the anniversary on the Hebrew calendar of the assassination.
“Ruling over another people is against our values as Jews. To pursue peace is a mitzvah. It’s also very practical, very Jewish,” Peres said.
The Israeli Peace Initiative and November 4th groups were among the organizers of the memorial, which featured a more political overtone.
A second memorial, sponsored by a coalition of groups from the left and right, including youth movements, is set for Saturday in Rabin Square. President Reuven Rivlin will serve as keynote speaker at the rally, which will remember Rabin’s life and legacy, the Dror Israeli Movement announced Sunday.