Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara traveled on Thursday (Feb. 7) to Kibbutz Alumim along the border with Gaza to join in the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the “Yonatan” pre-military academy named after the late Yoni Netanyahu .
“The pre-military academies break down barriers and create true partnership between all parts of the people,” Netanyahu commented in his remarks at the ceremony.
“When I meet pre-military academy graduates in uniform, as I will meet you soon, I am impressed by their leadership, their marching forward, motivation, excitement and all of this is accompanied by the great spirit that pre-military academy cadets absorb between the academy walls. Here, adjacent to the Gaza Strip, you have been doing this for eight years already; therefore, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the academies and of assuring their future.
Netanyahu also held an open conversation with the cadets at the academy. “The haters of Israel merely change; over the years they have not disappeared,” he told them.
“There are new enemies who work to the same extent. What has changed is the State of Israel, the IDF and the readiness of the generations that fell in order to defend our state. This is a great combination that is unprecedented in the annals of other peoples; it entails loss but also great excitement.
“This spirit of Yoni, of fighting and understanding the range of our history, all generations of the Jewish people, that in the end leads to responsibility, is what we are doing to ensure the continued existence of our people.
“Today it is as clear as the sun that the Jewish people has no existence without our existence here in the State of Israel, in the land of Israel,” he added. “This has already been proven. He understood that our existence will be dependent on the existence of the Jewish state, and the existence of the Jewish state is dependent on the readiness of all of its youth to wield the sword of David when necessary. What you are doing here is in continuation of this path.”
As part of the event, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife attended the “hachnassat Torah” — bringing in of a new Torah scroll — in memory of the prime minister’s older brother, the late Yoni Netanyahu, at the academy study hall. The scroll was donated by the Trabelsi family and written by the late Pinchas Trabelsi who passed away from a serious illness several months ago.
Also participating in the event were Sdot Negev Regional Council Chairman Tamir Idan, Yonatan Pre-Military Academy Director Itzik Yablonski, Alumim Rabbi Amit Kola and academy members and cadets.