Sunday, October 18, 2009

PM Netanyahu: Jerusalem owes debt of honor to Ze'evi

(JPOST).Israel's leading political figures congregated Sunday afternoon with family and friends to commemorate the memory of former senior military commander, National Union MK and tourism minister Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi, who was assassinated by four Fatah gunmen at the Hyatt Hotel in east Jerusalem in October 2001.

Both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony.

"Jerusalem owes a debt of honor to Ghandi," Netanyahu said, adding that Ze'evi was "an exemplary figure."

"For 19 years Hebrew Jerusalem was cramped into the edge of a narrow corridor, closed off in three directions and divided along a hostile, mine-filled urban line. The Israeli government decided to unify Jerusalem and annex the Old City. The mission was given to Ghandi. He was the one who created the unified map of the city that was approved by the government and Knesset. At that moment [when the map was approved], Jerusalem was let out to the open.

"City neighborhoods, from Ramot to Gilo, owe a debt [of gratitude] to Ghandi," the prime minister said at the service.

Netanyahu stressed that despite Ze'evi's "controversial" political outlook, "his deeper voice must reverberate and be heard beyond the boundaries of time."

Netanyahu said that Ze'evi had championed the Jews' "irrefutable right to our country and homeland," exhibiting "boundless devotion to the people of Israel, the security of [Israel] and the land of Israel."