Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed unity and brotherhood among Israelis in his speech on Tuesday at the national Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem.
"Today, more than ever, on the day we remember the heroes of the nation, we must remember that we are brothers: Jews, Druze, Muslims, Bedouins, Christians, Circassians. Brothers in service, brothers in arms, brothers in blood," said Netanyahu at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in the nation's capital.
"All of our families mourn over our fallen beloved ones. 'I am racked with grief' says the writer of Psalms. Each family suffers in its own way. But the support of the nation gives us the strength to seize life, to move on from the loss of brothers and sons. And the bereaved families on their part, strengthen the spirit of the nation with their fortitude," continued the Israeli premier.
"We will stand together as brothers and guarantee our independence from generation to generation. We will stand as brothers and bow our heads in unending gratitude for the courage of the fallen and the resilience of their families," Netanyahu said.
Israel has a strong tradition of unity when facing external threats. However, Israeli society has become increasingly polarized and divided amid the Netanyahu-led government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog recently said that Israel’s greatest danger is internal division and urged more dialogue and compromise.
"We are growing more distant from one another. The gaps between us are growing wider," warned Herzog.
Like many Israeli families, the Netanyahu family has first-hand experience losing close family members in the ongoing battle for the Jewish state’s existence. Yonatan Netanyahu, the older brother of the prime minister, died in 1976 while leading an Israeli commando force, which rescued Israeli and Jewish passengers being held as prisoners by Arab and German terrorists at Entebbe airport in Uganda.
The prime minister recalled the story of the three Lichtenstein brothers who lost their lives while defending Israel.
"Three brothers who fell, but left a tremendous family heritage: The highest sacrifice by the sons, the highest courage by the parents. This heroism of spirit is what gives us throughout the ages the ability to overcome our enemies and the ability to build our state," Netanyahu told the audience.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.