Bennett Warns on Memorial Day: Regimes Funding Terrorism, Arming Attackers Will ‘Pay a Price’
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday warned that any regime that funds terrorism will pay a “price,” as more than one million Israelis honored fallen soldiers and terror victims at military cemeteries across the country on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
“Our brothers and sisters are buried in the soil of our country, and they deepen the roots of our bond to this place so that we can continue growing the Tree of Life here,” Bennett said at the state ceremony for Israel’s fallen soldiers on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.
Bennett described today’s visit of over one and a half million Israelis at military cemeteries as a “uniquely Israeli phenomenon.”
“This remarkable participation is testament to our commitment as a nation to our fallen, and to the mutual responsibility that flows in the veins of Israeli society,” Bennett stated. “It is proof of the value of friendship and of the respect that we hold for those who sacrificed themselves for the country, for us.”
In apparent reference to Iran, Bennett cautioned that “any regime that funds terrorism, arms terrorists or gives the order to carry out terrorist attacks will not be able to hide anymore in cowardice from afar.”
“We are fighting a cruel and bloodthirsty enemy. Instead of building their lives and futures, our enemies do not relinquish their desire to destroy our lives,” he said. “Violence and terrorism are not natural phenomena or a predestined fate that the State of Israel must accept.”
Bennett announced that the “era of granting immunity for the instigators of terrorism is over. The terrorists who carry out attacks are not the only ones who will pay a price, but also those who sent them, even if they are a thousand kilometers east of here.”
During Bennett’s speech, a mother of one of four soldiers killed by a terrorist in a 2017 ramming attack in Jerusalem could be seen holding up a sign in protest of the prime minister’s governing coalition, reading “those who formed a government with terrorist supporters are not wanted here.” At another memorial event, a bereaved father interrupted the ceremony as Bennett was speaking, calling the premier a “traitor” and a “swindler.”
Speaking at a commemoration event, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that as Israel’s Memorial Day siren is heard, he tries to remember every name.
“The list grows longer every year, but the siren’s length remains,” Bennett remarked. “I, like many other commanders, consider myself a bereaved commander.”
“I remember my commanders, my soldiers and my friends who fell so that in 24 hours’ time we can celebrate our independence once again,” he added.
Gantz urged Israeli leaders to put aside any disagreements while mourning and remembering those perished.
“The bereaved families deserve it, and it is our duty to embrace them in any way they choose, to also lovingly accept their criticism, for they are the ones who have paid the enormous price of our rebirth and existence,” he said.