October 6 is a day of great pain for my generation that went through the Yom Kippur War and lost our best friends. But it is also a day of modesty, when we lost our illusions and we perceived in the cruelest way that it was impossible to solve the conflict between Israel and its neighbors with military might, and that it was not possible to live here and triumph using the sword. Since then, 38 blood-soaked years of war have passed as well as attempts to pave different paths to peace and reconciliation.
So once again it is October 6 and the eve of Yom Kippur, and once again we witness inexplicable violence, arrogance, blunt and harmful designed to light up a flame, which is alien to us.
Over the past summer a different spirit swept the country blowing aside for the moment differences of nationality, religion, class and gender and generating a feeling of a rejuvenated Israeli identity struggling for joint values and respecting all men and citizens.
The despicable act carried out here at a mosque in the heart of Tuba-Zangariya is aimed at murdering this spirit, to rekindle hatred and fear, to sabotage the path to peace and tolerance and mutual respect, and perpetuate the vicious circle of destruction and bloodshed, and sow despair and dread.
We have come here, representatives of dozens of organizations, and rank and file individuals, to tell you that we support you and that today we are all Tuba-Zangariya. We do not distinguish between praying in a mosque or a synagogue, between Muslim and Jew, between religious and secular and between men and women.
We have come here to protest this crime and call on Israel’s law enforcement authorities to find the guilty parties before they can repeat these crimes, and root them out of society and punish them with the full force of the law.
In the name of NIF, I apologize to the residents of Tuba-Zangariya, and the entire Muslim community in Israel. NIF is the leading and most important organization in the struggle for democracy and civil rights in Israel, and in efforts to protect religious pluralism and freedom of opinion and expression, and NIF places at the top of its agenda creating a society based on joint living and equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
We will continue to work harder to bring back Israel’s human and democratic character and to prevent the descent of all of us into the abyss of darkness in to which those who perpetrated this act of terror on the mosque are trying to drag us.
These are days of asking for forgiveness and I ask you for your forgiveness. These are days of soul searching and that is what I am doing up here on the stage together will all of you – we have not done enough to prevent this act, we were not alert enough t the danger and we did not warn about it in a loud enough voice.
We must work together more strenuously to erase this disgrace and to prevent its recurrence and to protect the image of God and man.
Because we are all citizens of this land which is so extremely dear to us, and because we all live together in this country and the same sunshine illuminates our way ahead and is the source of our lives. We will not let these people drive us apart and make hell of our lives.
Thank you all the residents of Tuba-Zangariya for welcoming us here today at such a difficult time for you. We hope to return here again and again in better times.