Speaking at a memorial service marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery, Netanyahu said unlike 40 years ago, political upheaval in the region has left Israel facing many new threats that require it to be prepared for all scenarios.
Referring to the American-Russian agreement on Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, Netanyahu said he hoped the understandings reached would bear fruit.The agreement must ensure the complete destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, he said.
"We hope the understandings reached will bear results. This test also applies to the international community's diplomatic efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear armament. Here too, not words but actions will determine the outcome," Netanyahu said. "Israel must be prepared to defend itself, today more than ever."
President Shimon Peres called the Yom Kippur War "a watershed moment in the Middle East."
"That was what brought about the first peace with the biggest of the Arab nations -- Egypt," he said. "Following that, an infrastructure was laid for the basis of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and subsequently, peace with Jordan.
"Our neighbors learned that warfare invariably will lead to painful disappointment. Peace is the real victory," Peres said.
Syria, he said, refused to join its Arab neighbors in making peace with Israel and was still paying for that mistake.
"Syria, Egypt's partner in the war, refused to be a partner in peace. Syria is being punished for that refusal still today. [Former Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat brought peace to this people. Syrian President Bashar Assad brought tragedy to his land, " Peres said.
Some 2656 Israeli soldiers were killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The ceremony was broadcast live on national radio and television stations.