newsIsrael at War

WATCH: Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to the nation

"Strengthen the defenders of our holy land, and let our God grant them salvation and victory, and grant them peace," he said.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addresses the state ceremony marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur War, held at the military cemetery at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, Sept. 26, 2023. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog addresses the state ceremony marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur War, held at the military cemetery at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, Sept. 26, 2023. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS.

The following is the video (Hebrew) and full text of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to the nation:

My fellow Israelis, my sisters and brothers, I turn to you today while we are in the midst of a fierce war declared upon us by a cruel enemy.

I turn to you while the Israel Defense Forces are fighting on a wide front, at a time when many of us are under fire and facing uncertainty, with our lives laid before us, and while the emergency, medical and rescue services are making great efforts to save lives, and various sources are working to convey to us—in a reliable and accurate way—the situation in the field, and of the casualties.

These moments are unbearable. Everyone is grieving and mourning “the splendor of youth, the charm of valor, the holiness of will, and the devotion of sacrifice which came to an end in the heavy battles” [Yizkor memorial prayer].

We have all seen how our enemies attack with inhuman cruelty – the elderly, women, families, babies, from any background, of any faith, in kibbutzim, moshavim, in cities and towns.

Animals, yes, monstrous animals, who do not distinguish between blood, who slaughter and kidnap infants and old women, who carry out a killing spree of innocent young people at a party, young people whose only sin was being Israelis who wanted to be happy, who wanted to celebrate.

These are your enemies, Israel—and we will overcome them, with the strength of the Israel Defense Forces and our security services, and with the strength of our spirit. It is said: “This is our life’s choice, to be prepared and armed, strong and determined, lest the sword be stricken from our fist and our lives cut down” [from Moshe Dayan’s eulogy for Roi Rotberg].

This heinous act, which began in the middle of Shabbat on a Jewish holy day, crossing the border to carry out the attack, is an unforgivable sin. A sin that was led not only by a murderous terrorist organization, but by an evil axis whose base is in Iran and whose malignant cells repeatedly work to undermine us, our spirit, our sovereignty, and who we are as a people and as a country.

My brothers and sisters: we are in a war for our home, and we will win!

Our country has been fighting since the dawn of its creation for its very existence, for the very right to be a free people in our country. And in the face of every hardship and enemy, time after time, we discover our resilience and our unbreakable spirit, we overcome, we find the greatness of soul, we rise from the abyss of grief and sorrow, and storm ahead.

We overpower the enemy and utterly defeat them. We make it clear we are here forever—on our land, in our country. We are victorious and build higher and higher over that which was destroyed.

The events of the past days are part of a multi-faceted and wide-ranging war. Such a war does not end in the blink of an eye. Such a war also has psychological characteristics which I would like to emphasize to you.

Our enemies are now making great psychological efforts, through cyberattacks and spreading false films and reports—to plant fear and anxiety in our hearts. They seek to weaken us. They are wrong. There is a fact beyond any debate—this time too the State of Israel will win. We have no other option.

Dear and beloved citizens of Israel, I know how difficult it is. I know how much it hurts. But the Israeli spirit has always won out, and it will win this time as well.

A few hours ago, I visited the wounded and their families. I saw their Israeli generosity of spirit. I saw—and believe me when I say this—that our enemies were gravely mistaken in underestimating the strength of the Israeli spirit.

Because even in the midst of such excruciating pain, you can see the Israeli strength at its fullest.

Thanks to the dedication and responsibility. Thanks to the spirit of volunteerism and the vibrant sense of mutual guarantee we see across Israeli society. Thanks to the support of Jewish communities and our friends around the world. Thanks to the hidden Israeli light that emerged spontaneously, and proved what a wonderful and beautiful thing we have.

Thanks to the security, emergency and rescue forces, both regular and reserve. Thanks to the wonderful citizens and fighters from across Israeli society, who all showed up, put all their differences aside, and in unimaginable acts of heroism with true ferocity, stood up boundlessly and ceaselessly went out to defend our home.

I ask of all of us, let us keep this spirit of heroism and this togetherness. It is our most powerful weapon. Act responsibly. Avoid spreading unfounded videos and rumors that serve the enemy. Carefully follow the instructions of the Home Front Command.

Remember: The road to victory goes only with determination, only with faith in the justness of our path, only together, as one with one heart. Have no delusions, there are difficult days ahead of us.

This is the time to unite against the enemy—unite and act with determination. This is the order of the hour, and it is an hour of emergency. For the people, for the Knesset, for the emergency government.

On behalf of the entire nation, I send condolences to the bereaved families. I offer strength to the forces in the field and their worried families; I pray for the swift and full recovery of the wounded—in body and soul.

I offer strength and send a warm embrace to all those whose loved ones are now in uncertainty, going through indescribable suffering. We are all with them, and we will continue to work with all our might to resolve the doubts and bring their loved ones home.

I will end with a prayer for security and peace—for us and for all of Israel: Strengthen the hands of the defenders of our holy land, and let our God grant them salvation and victory, and grant them peace.

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