Six thousand miles from U.S. soil, Israelis joined Americans today at the Jewish National Fund September 11th memorial in Jerusalem, in order to commemorate the most horrific terrorist attack in U.S. history, which cut short the lives of 2,996 people. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon gave the keynote speech to the invitees that included Knesset members, Israeli Cabinet ministers, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, as well as many families of the victims of 9/11 and other distinguished guests.
The new Jerusalem memorial, created by the Jewish National Fund, is the only place outside of New York that recognizes the names of the people who were killed on 9/11 and their countries of origin.
Following is the text from Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon's speech today.
*Families of those who lost loved ones in the attacks on the United States during September 11th, 2001, Ambassador of the United States to Israel, His Excellency, Daniel Shapiro, Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Nir Barkat, World Chairman of the Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael -- Jewish National Fund, Mr. Efi Stenzler. Ambassadors, honored guests ... friends.
"The Jewish tradition views every individual as created in God's image. That is why the Jerusalem Talmud teaches that 'He who saves even one person's life, it as if he saved the entire world.'
"September 11th, to quote former U.S. President Roosevelt, is 'a date which will live in infamy.' Even 10 years after the horrendous terror attack, we are still shaken to our core by the enormity of this heinous and cowardly act.
"More than 3,000 innocent Americans and people from around the world, including Israeli citizens Alona Avraham, Leon Lebor, Shay Levinhar, Daniel Lewin and Haggai Sheffi, lost their lives in the course of an hour and a half.
"Thousands of families in the United States and across the globe, including Israel, suffered losses for which there is no compensation or consolation. If we reference our tradition, we can well ask, 'How many worlds were destroyed on that day?'
"Those who attacked America on September 11th, 2001 did so not because of what America does or does not do, but because of what America is and what it represents to the entire world. This can be summed up in two words: democracy and freedom -- core values which both Israel and the United States share.
"Democracy enshrines the ideal of an individual's worth and equality within society. Freedom ensures that every individual possesses the basic rights of expression, conscience and physical safety. Democracy and freedom are ideas which are the antithesis of those held by the mass murderers who perpetrated the atrocity on September 11th.
"They sought, and their successors seek, to forcibly establish, by violence, a world which will be coercive, backward and devoid of basic dignity for the individual. A world where people will be forced to live in fear of organized and government-sanctioned violence.
"Israel, which has unfortunately known all too well the terrible price that terrorism inflicts upon individuals and society, stands with America in its continuing battle for democracy and freedom.
"Know that we are at your side as you defend the core values of our civilization and pursue, in righteous anger, those who would destroy our lives and our societies.
"We also know that you are by our side. Yesterday, we once again witnessed that in our hour of need, America is always ready to assist the State of Israel. The government of Israel wishes to thank President Obama and all of the American officials who were involved in the bringing to safety of Israeli diplomats and their families from Cairo.
"These events served as just another example of the close relationship between our nations encompassing all levels.
"Finally, a word about the American people. In Israel, we remember the quiet but determined courage of the American people that dark day ten years ago, and the days that followed. We remember the heroism and dedication of those serving in the emergency services that leapt into the carnage and inferno in the hope of saving lives, many of whom subsequently lost their lives in the ultimate sacrifice.
"Israelis recognized the greatness and exceptionalism of the American people in the images and stories from that day. These are the images and stories of a people who will not bow to terror and violence.
"Israelis and Americans mourn together the loss, share the pain and collectively continue to defend the future. A future, where those who crave life and freedom will triumph over those who seek death and destruction."
According to Jewish National Fund Director Russell Robinson, the Living Memorial in Jerusalem is "a place for visiting dignitaries -- presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors and citizens of the world -- to come together to remember, reflect and heal. More than anything we hope that this Living Memorial will remind us to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance, the unity of mankind and democracy."
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