Study and Theory/
Rabin Memorial Day

Yitzhak Rabin

Not Because of the Iron

From the address of Yitzhak Rabin at the ceremony of obtaining the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Mount Scopus, 1967

You wish to give me the great honor in granting me the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Allow me tell you what's on my heart: I see myself here, as the representative of thousands of commanders and tens of thousands of soldiers who brought victory to the country in the Six-Day War, as the representative of the entire IDF.

The question may be asked: Why did the university consider granting a doctorate of philosophy particularly to a soldier in recognition of his actions in the war? What is the connection between military men and the world of academics that symbolize cultural life?

What is the connection between those who are occupied by virtue of their profession with violence to spiritual values?

Yet I see in this honor, that you grant my military friends through me, a deep recognition of the uniqueness of the IDF, which is no more than an expression of the uniqueness of the entire Jewish people.

Our educational endeavor is well known and has earned the prestige of the entire nation by being awarded the Israel Prize for Education granted to the Israel Defense Forces in 1966. The Nahal, which combines the army's work with land cultivation, the school teachers who are involved in social development projects, and the like, are just a few examples of the uniqueness of the IDF in this field. Today, however, the university has given us a degree of honor in recognition of the IDF's spiritual and ethical value in the fighting itself, for we have reached this status as a result of the heavy battle, which was forced upon us, and from which we have emerged victoriously, in a wonderous way.

[...]

War is a very difficult and cruel matter, accompanied by a great deal of bloodshed and tears, but in this war we have waged, rare and wondrous manifestations of courage and heroism were revealed alongside humane manifestations of brotherhood and friendship and even inspirations. Those who did not see the crew of a tank, continuing with the attack when their commander was killed and their vehicle - badly damaged, sappers who had risked their lives to rescue their wounded friend from a minefield ... do not know what dedication to peers entail.

[...]

These revelations begin with spirit and end with spirit. Our soldiers' transcendence is not manifested by iron, but by the consciousness of the supreme mission of recognizing the justice of our cause, deep love for the homeland and recognition of the difficult task entrusted to them – to ensure the existence of the Jewish people in its own country, and to carry this out even if they have to pay the price of their own lives. The Israeli nation has the right to live in its country - with freedom, independence, in peace and tranquility.

This army, which I had the privilege of leading during this war, came from the people and is returned to the people.

A nation that rises in times of stress, that can defeat any enemy, by virtue of its moral, spiritual, and psychological attributes in periods of trials and tribulations. As the representative of the IDF, on behalf of all the soldiers, I proudly accept your tribute.

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