Israel held a memorial service for its soldiers and citizens who lost their lives during last year’s 50-day summer war known in Jewish state as Operation Protective Edge. President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony as they both renewed their determination to continue fighting against terrorism and terror attacks targeting Israelis.
President Rivlin said last year’s summer was a “difficult summer” during which 67 soldiers whom he described as “the brightest and the best of our fighters” lost their lives together with other civilians. More than 2000 Palestinians were killed during the war and most of them were civilians.
He said the war was a justified cause “fitting of a sovereign state called upon to defend its citizens” after “dozens of rockets were fired at the residents of the South and the towns on the front line” before the operation was launched.
Rivlin lamented that innocent Israelis “were subjected to waves of shock and the screeching threat of death” some of which came from “terror tunnels.” He further added that “we are not a people of war but if forced to take up arms to defend our borders and our existence, we will not hesitate to do so.”
The president said “Israel cannot continue to be held hostage by an enemy that operates in the heart of their civilian population” and also disrespectful of human rights, the international law and democracy. He stated that the war is not yet over because as long as the two Israeli soldiers reported missing during the war are not found, “so too, the mission of the State of Israel remains incomplete.”
Netanyahu expressed similar remarks stressing that “only the eradication of terrorism will bring an end to the killing of innocents on both sides.”