Mr. Speaker, like millions of people in Israel and around the world, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Yitzhak Rabin Saturday afternoon.
I was shocked because his death came just after he had spoken and sung for peace at a rally of 100,000 Israelis. I was shocked because his murder was completely inconsistent with the way of life in Israel, where this kind of violence has not been a means of dealing with political differences. It has not been a part of the life of that democratic country. I was shocked and also saddened that Prime Minister Rabin's own life, so filled with achievement and service, had been cruelly ended before his main work could be completed: the work of making peace between Israel and all its neighbours.
Yitzhak Rabin proved he could be successful as a leader in making war. He was proving he could be equally successful as a leader in achieving peace. He had made war to protect his country, but he wanted and preferred peace for Israel and all the peoples of the Middle East.
It has been said that Yitzhak Rabin was a martyr for peace. Therefore, the best way to honour his life and his memory is to make sure that his work for peace continues and is successfully concluded.
Just after this government took office, two years ago last week, its first official visitors were Yitzhak Rabin and his wife. I, together with my wife, had the honour of officially welcoming them to our country. At that time, in talking with him all too briefly, I was struck and impressed by his mixture of firmness, resolve, personal modesty, and his commitment to achieving his goal of peace for Israel with its neighbours.
There is a word in Hebrew that is used as a greeting. It is also used to say goodbye and at the same time it signifies peace, that most sublime of human conditions. Unfortunately we cannot extend a greeting to Yitzhak Rabin on this earth again, but we can say goodbye by using that word which had come to mean more to him than almost anything else. We can say shalom. Shalom Yitzhak.
The Kaddish prayer said by Jewish mourners concludes with these words: "He who maketh peace in his high places, may he make peace for us and for all Israel".
I want to express my since condolences to Mrs. Rabin and the family of Yitzhak Rabin.
To Mrs. Rabin, to her family, to the people of Israel and to all people of goodwill everywhere, I conclude with the traditional Hebrew words of sympathy and condolence:
Hamakom y'nahaim etkhem b'tokh sh'ar availai tziyon veeyerushalayim.
May the Lord comfort you with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.