Anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's Death

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 4, 2015

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin devoted his life to defending Israel. Today, on this solemn anniversary, we express our profound appreciation for his contribution to the cause of peace. And we honor his vision that would create a better future for both Israelis and the Palestinians: two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

I will never forget standing in Rabin Square two years ago. Just meters from where I stood, in 1995, Prime Minister Rabin and my good friend Shimon Peres stood on stage at a peace rally and sang the inspiring lyrics of Shir LaShalom: “Don’t whisper a prayer – sing a song of peace in a loud voice.” Rabin’s example taught us all that we have a voice, and all of us must lend our full voices to the cause of peace and not conflict, singing loudly for love and not hate.

Prime Minister Rabin was part of the generation that built the modern state of Israel, that made a desert bloom, that dreamed and willed a country to life and defended it in times of war. He dared to take risks for peace because he knew well the alternative, and believed it was essential for the future security and prosperity of Israel and of the region.

Rabin is gone, but his legacy endures as a challenge and an inspiration to us all. Recent events and violence in the region underscore the urgency of advancing Rabin’s vision: a two-state solution that provides the security for Israelis and Palestinians to live their lives in peace, dignity and prosperity. Today, with the viability of that vision increasingly at risk, it is more important than ever that we remember his legacy. It compels us to keep trying. It urges us to never give up hope. As President Obama said in Jerusalem in 2013, peace is necessary, peace is just, and peace is possible.

Today, we honor the memory of a great prime minister, a brave man, a valiant soldier, and a wise leader who understood what was necessary for two peoples to live as neighbors. In his memory, let us recommit to use our words and our actions to advance the cause of peace.