Israel Political Brief April 30, 2012: Early elections likely for Israel

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Early elections likely for Israel

Source: JTA, 4-30-12

Israeli elections are likely to come a year earlier than scheduled.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has asked his advisers to look into holding new national elections in August or September, according to Ynet. October, right after the High Holidays, also is a possibility, according to reports.

There has been no official announcement of early elections.

The reasons for early elections include Netanyahu’s desire to consolidate his position ahead of U.S. elections in November, as well as the looming coalition crisis over the Tal Law, which gives military deferments for full-time yeshiva students.

Polls have shown that Netanyahu’s Likud Party would gain more seats in early elections.

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Israel Political Brief April 26, 2012: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Message to Israel on Independence Day — Yom Haazmaut

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Harper Extends Independence Well Wishes to Israel

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper extended Israel his nation’s well-wishes as the Jewish state turns 64
Netanyahu and Harper in Ottaw

Netanyahu and Harper in Ottawa
Reuters
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on Thursday published a statement wishing Israel well during its 64th Independence Day celebrations.
“On this special day, I would like to extend warm wishes to those celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut in Canada, in Israel and around the world,” Harper wrote.
“On this anniversary, we remember all that Israel and its citizens overcame to achieve statehood and we celebrate all that it has accomplished in the past six decades.
“As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Canada last month, our Government recognizes it is an especially challenging time in the Middle East.
“Israel can rest assured that we will uphold its right to exist as an independent Jewish state as we continue in our efforts to promote peace and security in the region.
“Once again, Happy Independence Day!”

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 26, 2012: US President Barack Obama’s Israeli Independence Day — Yom Ha’azmaut Message

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Statement by the President on Israeli Independence Day

Source: WH, 4-26-12

Sixty-four years ago, the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel–the realization of a modern day state in the historic homeland of the Jewish People.  Since that momentous day, the special bond of friendship between the United States and Israel has grown stronger.  Ours is a unique relationship founded on an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, and anchored by our common interests and deeply held values.  These values continue to enlighten and guide our efforts as we work with Israel, as well as with others in the region, to confront shared challenges and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution that will usher in a future of peace, security, and dignity for the people of Israel and its neighbors.

Today, as Israelis celebrate their 64th Independence Day and their remarkable achievements over the past six decades, it gives me great pleasure to extend my best wishes, and the best wishes of the American people, to President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the people of Israel.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut: President Shimon Peres’ Independence Day Message

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Video: Peres Tells Diaspora ‘Reality Beyond our Vision’

The reality of Israel after 64 years of independence is “much more than the vision we once dreamed,” Peres tells the Diaspora.

The reality of Israel after 64 years of independence is “much more than the vision we once dreamed,” President Shimon Peres told the Diaspora in a special message Wednesday..

Yom Ha’atzmaut is not only a day of celebration but also one to reflect and realize the reality we have built is much more than the vision we once dreamed,” he said.

The President told Jews outside the Land of Israel that the “unyielding spirit which defines the Jewish people” drove Israel’s achievements since its reestablishment as a state in 1948.

“We returned to our homeland, rich in history, yet scarce in land, meager in natural resources. We had not choice but to invest in our greatest asset – our people. And we did, together with you….

“We have built an  extraordinary country, due to our extraordinary people. Today, we can proudly look upon our thriving economy, innovation serves as Israel’s heartbeat and creativity runs through our veins.

Yom HaAtzmaut begins Wednesday evening with the conclusions of ceremonies in observance of Memorial Day for Fall Soldiers and terror victims.

The President noted that Yom Ha’atzmaut also is “a  time to remember those who defended and served our country, many of whom sacrifice their lives for our young state.”

He praised what he said is the ”young generation’s commitment to our state, [which] is essential as our shared tomorrow will be defined by innovation. As  partners of our nation, your ability to secure a future defined by scientific development and discoveries is vital to our shared mission.

“Our mutual unwavering commitment to each other is crucial

Israel Brief April 24-26, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut & Yom Hazikaron — Israel celebrates 64 years of independence — Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Israel Independence Day

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Israel celebrates 64 years of independence  — Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Israel Independence Day

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Celebrate Independence Day with Israel – live!

Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and and Israel Independence Day
   
HatikvaThe national anthem: Hatikva Israel Independence Day is celebrated annually on the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, according to the Hebrew calendar, on 5 Iyar (this celebrated one day early because of the Sabbath). The day preceding this celebration is devoted to the memory of those who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence. This proximity is intended to remind people of the heavy price paid for independence. On this day the entire nation remembers its debt and expresses eternal gratitude to its sons and daughters who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence.

PM Netanyahu: “After Remembrance Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday. The unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our dear ones who fell in Israel’s wars did not fall in vain. Thanks to them, the State arose. Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility.”

On May 14, 1948, the day the British Mandate expired, the new Jewish state – the State of Israel – was formally established in parts of what was known as the British Mandate for Palestine. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence was restored after 2,000 years.

Independence Day is a celebration of the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the birthplace of the Jewish people. In this land, the Jewish people began to develop its distinctive religion and culture some 4,000 years ago, and here it has preserved an unbroken physical presence, for centuries as a sovereign state, at other times under foreign domination. Throughout their long history, the yearning to return to the land has been the focus of Jewish life. Theodor Herzl, the leader and founder of the Zionist movement, increased international recognition for the need of a Jewish state.

Since its establishment, Israel continues to be a homeland to the thousands who make their way to Israel annually. It is home to some of the holiest religious sites of the three major religions, all which enjoy the democratic rights delineated in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.


Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars

Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron, which begins on Tuesday evening, April 24, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with awe and honor for the fallen. The official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one minute siren.  


Officer places a flag on a fallen soldier’s grave. (Archive photo: IDF Spokesperson)

A total of 22,993 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860, the year that the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.
Since the end of the War of Independence, 2,457 people have been killed in Israel in terror attacks – 14 in the past year.

In the past year, since Remembrance Day 2011, 126 members of the security forces – police, IDF, Border Police, Israel Security Agency and other organizations – have been killed in the service of the state.

On Wednesday, ceremonies commence at 11:00 AM at 44 IDF military cemeteries located throughout the country following a two minute blast of the siren. There will also be a ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence, which will take place near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction. Israel’s flag, adorned with a black ribbon and memorial flame, is placed on each and every grave of those who fell in Israel’s battles and are buried in military cemeteries throughout Israel. It expresses the country’s respect for the fallen as well as the entire country’s participation in the grief of the families.


“The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly…”
– In memory of those who have fallen while on duty in the Israeli Foreign Service
 

 

 David Ben-Gurion
declares the
establishment of
the State of Israel

Independence Day

Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebrations will commence on Wednesday evening, April 25, when the state flag is raised to full mast at a national ceremony on Mount Herzl, at which twelve torches are lit. Independence Day is filled with festivities and celebrations including picnics, barbecues, family gatherings and nature trips. Balconies, car windows, store fronts and more are liberally decorated with Israeli flags.

On Israel Independence Day, Thursday, April 26 between 9:30-11:00 am (Israel time) the central Independence Day festivities will take place at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with the participation of the country’s entire top political-security leadership. For the first time this year, the President of Israel invites the entire Jewish people, in Israel and around the world, to take an active part in the Independence Day celebrations and to watch the ceremony broadcast live on President Peres’ Facebook page. At the conclusion of the event, the entire broadcast will also be uploaded to You Tube.

The event will start with a festive,  honorary flyover of combat planes and helicopters, immediately followed by a military review by the President and Chief of Staff of the 120 recipients of the President’s Outstanding Soldiers Award. Following the review, the main performance will take place on the lawn of the President’s Residence during which the President, the Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister will sing their favorite Independence Day songs together with the IDF band  and with the background accompaniment of top singers and military bands. The President and Chief of staff will also give special Independence Day addresses during the Outstanding Soldier Award ceremony.


Israel celebrates 64 – Special greeting for Israel Independence Day from President Peres


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day


Population of Israel

On the eve of Israel’s 64th Independence Day, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the population of Israel numbers 7,881,000 – of them 5,931,000 Jews (75.3% of the total population) and 1,623,000 Arabs (20.6%). On the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the total population numbered 806,000. Today, over 70% of the total Jewish population are “Sabras” – born in Israel – compared with 35% native-born in 1948.

Since Independence Day last year 161,000 babies were born, and 19,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. The total population of Israel grew since the 63rd Independence Day by approximately 137,500 – a growth of 1.8%.

In 1948 there was only one city in Israel with more than 100,000 residents – Tel Aviv-Yafo. Today, 14 cities number more than 100,000 residents, of which six number more than 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Haifa, Rishon LeZiyyon, Petah Tiqwa and Ashdod.

Relevant documents and websites

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Independence Day Message

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PM Netanyahu’s Independence Day greetings

Watch the Video

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Netanyahu Thanks Israel’s Supporters on Independence Day

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s greeting in honor of Israel’s 64th Independence Day: We are unique in having such passionate friends.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a special greeting on Wednesday, in honor of Israel’s 64th Independence Day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day

Source: Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, 4-25-12

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Israel is unique in restoring sovereignty, and the capacity for self-defense, to a people who had been stateless and powerless for 2,000 years.

Israel is unique in ingathering to an ancestral homeland an exiled people who had been scattered around the globe.

Israel is unique in having become a global technological power despite the fact that we face threats faced by no other nation on earth.

Israel is unique in the Middle East for having a vibrant, liberal democracy where women are equal, minorities are free and where all are subject to the rule of law.

But Israel is unique in one other important way: we are unique in having such passionate friends, Jews and non-Jews alike, for whom the well-being, security and future of our country are so important. This passionate support, along with Israel’s strong army, free economy and dynamic society, is the pillar of our national strength.

And this Independence Day, I want to thank the tens of millions of friends of Israel throughout the world for their unwavering support for the one and only Jewish state.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’atzmaut Israel Celebrates 64th Birthday — יום העצמאות

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Israel Celebrates 64th Birthday

Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun.

Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror has ended, and Independence Day has begun, with fireworks displays going off countrywide.

The celebration of Israel’s 64th birthday began with the traditional ceremony at Har Herzl in Jerusalem. The main speaker at the ceremony was Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin.

Rivlin’s speech began with a mention of the external threats Israel faces but centered on what he said was an internal enemy which threatens Israel’s future – an enemy which he identified as “the extremists” and zealotry on all sides of the political and social spectrum.

“The struggle against those who set mosques on fire is not between leftists and settlers,” he said, “it is a struggle against zealots.”

“The struggle against those who spit in the face of an eight-year-old girlis not a struggle between secular people and haredim, but a struggle against marginal extremists. The struggle against those who team up with our worst enemies, who fight against Israel’s right to exist, is not a struggle between left and right or between Jews and Arabs, but a struggle against zealotry and zealots. The struggle against those who see women’s singing in the IDF as ‘an hour of destruction,’ a decree over whose trespass death is preferable, is not a struggle between secular Zionism and religious Zionism. This is a struggle against zealotry.”

Rivlin said that he does not fear the residents of Itamar or Migron, “who are faithful to the Land of Israel and love it,” nor does he fear those who oppose the settlement enterprise. “I fear the zealots,” he repeated. “I fear the extremism. I fear those who do not hesitate to break the rules in the name of the righteousness of their path; those who do not fear the destruction of the Third Temple.”

Midnight Fireworks in Jerusalem for Yom HaAtzmaut

A large fireworks display beginning at 11:30 p.m. will end Wednesday evening’s Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities in Jerusalem.
Fireworks in Jerusalem

Fireworks in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A large fireworks display beginning at 11:30 p.m. will end Wednesday evening’s Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities in Jerusalem’s Independence Park.

Music, singing and dancing will be the main activities in the capital after Israel marks the end of memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror victims at 7:45 p.m.and begins to celebrate 64 years of an independent State of Israel for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

Music popular in the religious-Zionist community will be featured at the HaMashbir stage, at King George Street in downtown Jerusalem. Bnei Akiva and the Ezra movement will dance, and the Pirchei Yerushalayim Band will appear.

Bands will perform at Kikar HaHatulot, and music oriented for the younger generation will take place at the pedestrian mall at Hillel Street, next to Ben Yehuda Street. Student associations helped program the activities.

Opposite the Old City Walls at Mamilla, students have organized DJ entertainment, with entrance by paid tickets.

Israeli folk dancing and a songfest will be featured at the stage at Safra Square-City Hall from 10:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m.

Yom HaAtzmaut 2012: Events

The Day of Remembrance for slain IDF soldiers will be followed by Independence Day. A list of events for those who wish to celebrate.
Jerusalem Day fireworks

Jerusalem Day fireworks
Flash 90

The Day of Remembrance for slain IDF soldiers will begin Tuesday evening and be followed by Israel’s 64th Independence Day.  This list of events was compiled by Anglo-List.Com. These are not Torah-oriented events.

Tel Aviv

Main Event, Rabin Square, 9:00 p.m. – “Only in Israel” with the participation of military bands. Clips from different periods in Israel’s history will be screened on giant screens and fireworks will paint the sky. With: Momi Levy, Miri Aloni, Shula Chen, and dozens of dancers, Tel Aviv youth and more. The evening will close with a performance by “Quartet” – with Shem Tov Levy, Alon Olearchik, Shlomo Yidov and Efraim Shamir.

Atzmadoodes – Children’s Independence Day events at the  Performing Arts Center at 8:30 p.m.  –  Roni Superstar, Tel Aviv Youth Band, the entertainment show” Katzefet VeToot ,”  fire dances, juggling clowns, aerial acrobatics performances and fireworks.

Folk Dancing – Plaza Performing Arts Center, 11:00 p.m – dancing into the night with the best; Sarah Aviv and Gadi Biton combining instrumental and vocal performance and Tel Aviv University Dance troupe.

Park Davidoff, Jaffa, 8:30 p.m. – Michelle Cohen Music School program, Alon de Loco with the  LoCo Land show accompanied by musicians and  dancers, Woody G, Yaron Ramati, local bands and more.

Haifa

Moriah Blvd: Din Din Aviv, Carolina, Erez Lev Ari, Rami Kleinstein, Rita & Ethnix

Kiryat Sprinzak: Michal Tzafir, Shlomi Shabat, Idan Yaniv

Kiryat Shmuel: Kobi Machat, Meir Banai, Yishai Lapidot and the “Of Simchas” band

Central Carmel: Rami Kleinstein, Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila

Neve Shaanan: Michal Tzafir, Rami Kleinstein, Shlomi Shabat, Mooki

Kiryat Haim: Shiri Maimon, Shimon Buskila, Ethnix, Josh, Mooki and Eyal Golan

Kiryat Eliezer:  Russian artists and folk music

Jerusalem

Main Stage (Kikar Hahatulot).

The Even Yerushalmit band, Adir Getz, Yaniv Barmeli and Itay Moyal, Subliminal and Momi Levi, Yossi Azulai, Keren Peles. Hosted by Elad Amedi.

Stage at the Hillel Pedestrian Street – Street Party for the Young.

In collaboration with the Students Associations, young in the center:

DJ Ron Izraeli – Hebrew party

DJ Idan Ben Hamo – Funk party

DJ Stato – House anthems 2012

Main performance: Adir Getz

Independence Day opposite the walls at the Alrov Mamilla Avenue:

For students and youngsters – entrance with payment | At 22:00

DJ Itzik Dadia

DJ Shachar Ud

Tickets can be purchased at the Students Association and at Telephone: 073-7073617

Hamashbir Stage for the Religious Zionist Public:

Ezra Movement, Bnei Akiva and more

The Ruach Zfonit band in an exhilarating dancing event

Aaron Razel

The Pirchei Yerushalayim Band

DJ Hanania Ohana

Singing independence at the Safra Square stage:

Arbaa Bemol Band with Aaron Ferrera and Yael Badash

Israeli Rock at the Square: a tribute to the founders if Israeli Rock since the days of the state’s establishment: Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Matti Caspi, Shlomo Artzi, Gidi Gov, Danny Sanderson and more.

Dancing Independence at the Safra Square stage:  from 11:30 p.m – 3:30 a.m.

A mass dancing event, Israeli and other folk dances, with leading dance guides: Avner Naim, Haim Tzemach, Boaz Cohen, Mimi Cogan, Gidi Eiko.

00:30: Fireworks display above the Experimental High School, Independence Park

Rehovot

Main Stage: Liran Danino, David Deor, Dana International, Youth choir and dancers led by Itai Segev

Park Hameginim: Matti Caspi, Gabi Shushan, Shiri and Uzi Fuchs

Hershonson Stage.: Margalit Tzanani, Benny Elbaz , Gabi and Micky Nes, Shlomit Bouhnik, Moran Kriti, Tamir Lidanil, Nati Chen and “The Independence Ride” – a 15 km. bicycle ride on Thursday morning  at 9:00 from Sportec city. For information and registration: 08-9392239.

Netanya

Winter Lake Park: Roni Superstar, Berry Sakharof, Hadag Nahash, Beit Habubot, DJ Erez Shitrit

Kikar Ha’atzmaut: Danny Sanderson, Moshik Afia.

 

WZO Lets Users Fly an Internet Israeli Flag for Independence Day

“It’s 64 years of Israeli independence. As Zionism renews itself, so does technology,” says the World Zionist Organization.
Zionist Postcard - Zev Jabotinsky

Zionist Postcard – Zev Jabotinsky

The World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel & Countering Antisemitism is offering a new service which allows users to send postcards with Israeli flags and other pro-Israel images via the internet. The website allows a user to select and email postcards with images of Israeli flags, nature scenes and Zionist leaders such as Zev Jabotinsky, Theodor Herzl, Menachem Begin, and David Ben Gurion.

Yaakov Hagoel, head of the WZO’s Department for Activities in Israel stated, “it’s 64 years of Israeli independence. As Zionism renews itself, so does technology.”
Eitan Ori Behar, director of the WZO Communications Center said this year’s campaign is based on last year’s Fly Our Flag project.

In 2011, the WZO mailed out thousands of Israeli flags with car windows holders and sun shade screens with Israeli symbols. Anyone in the world had the ability to order a free flag on the WZO’s iZionist website.
“We’re changing to fit the needs of the day,” Behar commented on the 2012 campaign. “With the advent of handheld devices, you can send flags through our website.” Behar said he is encouraged by the positive feedback the campaign has generated in countries around the world. His staff has been translating WZO material into different languages. The iZionist website is currently available in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Turkish, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Behar added, “I hopes users will use the site to spread positive awareness about Israel.”

To send a flag, visit http://flags.org.il/view/?lang=en.

Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Says He Can Deliver Peace Deal in CNN Interview

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Netanyahu Says He Can Deliver Peace

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told CNN that he believes he can deliver a peace deal – but that the PA will have to make compromises, too
Netanyahu

Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told CNN interviewer Erin Burnett on Tuesday he can “deliver a peace agreement” with the Palestinian Authority.

“I think that I could deliver a peace agreement,” Netanyahu said. “I could get the Israeli people to follow me if I believe that I have a serious partner on the other side willing to make the necessary compromises on the Palestinian side.”

However, Netanyahu stressed that compromise was a two-way street and no agreement would be possible if PA officials refused to make concessions as well.

“Many compromises that people talk about are on the Israeli side. But there are necessary compromises on the Palestinian side… peace is always a two-way compromise,” Netanyahu told Burnett.

“I think that peace would benefit us, as I think it would benefit the Palestinians, as it would benefit the entire region,” he added.

He also said he was committed to a contiguous PA state in Judea and Samaria. The future PA state should not “look like Swiss cheese,” Netanyahu said.

“I’m the prime minister who removed 400 checkpoints, barriers, roadblocks and so on to facilitate the growth of the Palestinian economy. This is in line with what I believe is essential.” he said.

He added, “It’s not a substitute for a political peace… There are so many issues to discuss but you have to discuss them. We have to sit down opposite one another. That’s what leaders do.”

During the interview Netanyahu also told Burnett that his concerns were rooted in security, saying Israel had no desire to meddle in a future PA state’s domestic affairs.

“I don’t want to govern the Palestinians. I don’t want them as subjects of Israel or as citizens of Israel. I want them to have their own independent state. But a demilitarized state,” Netanyahu said.

He explained that a demilitarized PA state “just means that they can’t field the armies. They can’t fire rockets. That they won’t be used a third time by Iran and its Palestinian proxies to fire rockets on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But we don’t want to run their lives.”

During the interview on Wednesday, Netanyahu also discussed Iran’s nuclear program, saying “they – they say they need it for, what? Medical isotopes?”

“Well, you know – well, you have a sense of humor…. This is a farce. Nobody can seriously– nobody can take them seriously,” Netanyahu said, laughing after Burnett asking him about Iranian claims that their nuclear program is peaceful.

Israel Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Hazikaron: Remembering, Singing and Telling of Israel’s Fallen Soldiers Event on Memorial Day

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Remembering, Singing and Telling of Israel’s Fallen

Thousands attend the “Remembering, Singing and Telling” event, which was held at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem in honor of Memorial Day.

Thousands of people attended on Tuesday evening the “Remembering, Singing and Telling” event, which was held at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem in honor of Memorial Day. The evening was initiated by the Zochrim organization.

The emotional evening involved representatives of bereaved families who got up on stage to tell their loved ones’ stories. The evening also included remarks by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Rav Yisrael Lau, Nobel laureate Prof. Israel Aumann and other public representatives.

In addition, there were performances by some of the best artists in Israel including Udi Davidi, Gali Atari, Dudu Aharon, Yishai Levy, Yishai Lapidot, Mosh Ben-Ari, Rami Kleinstein, Shay Gabso and Sarit Hadad. The singers climbed the stage one by one and performed songs in the spirit of Memorial Day and were joined by the crowd.

A few minutes before 8 p.m. local time, when the one-minute siren marking the beginning of Memorial Day was heard, the audience lit 6,000 electronic candles in memory of Israel’s fallen.

Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘When Sirens Sound, We are One Family’ in Yom Hazikaron Remarks

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Netanyahu: When Sirens Sound, We are One Family

When Memorial Day sirens sound, “We will all become one family,” Binyamin Netanyahu said as Israel remembers fallen soldiers.
Netanyahu lays a wreath on Memorial Day in Jerusalem

Netanyahu lays a wreath on Memorial Day in Jerusalem
Reuters

When Memorial Day sirens sound, “We will all become one family,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said as Israel remembers fallen soldiers and terror victims. A one-minute siren sounded at 8 p.m. Tuesday and a two-minute siren will sound at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The Prime Minister recalled his brother Yoni, who was the commander and the only IDF casualty in the daring raid on Entebbe to rescue more than 100 hostages on a plane hijacked to Uganda.

“Like you, my dear brothers and sisters, on every Memorial Day I think of my dear fallen brother; I think about my parents who lost their beloved son, and about my brother Iddo, who lost his eldest brother,” he said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also noted comrades who died when he was serving in the armed forces.

“I remember Chaim Ben Yona from Kibbutz Yehiam,” said the Prime Minister. “Chaim was an outstanding young man. He fell next to me while we were crossing the Suez Canal in the dead of night.

“I also remember my fellow soldiers Zohar Ben Linik and David Ben Hamo, both remarkable fellows who were killed during preparations for a military operation, shortly after we enlisted together to the Special Forces unit Sayeret Matkal.  I escorted Zohar and David, who were seriously injured, to the hospital, where they were both pronounced dead….

“David Ben Hamo died in my arms on the drive from the training ground to the hospital….  When they say that it’s the best ones who fall, they mean people like Chaim and Zohar and David.

“Decades later, I visited David’s home in Beer Sheva, and I went into his room.  The room was left exactly as he had left it the last time he was there.  For us, the bereaved families, time stops as soon as we get the terrible news. A brutal sword rips our lives in two, and our lives will never be the same.

In a separate message to bereaved families, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “It was the heartfelt duty of our dear ones that led them to face the enemy…. Today, the People of Israel lay aside disagreements and stand as one beside you.”

Remembrance Day is immediately followed by Independence Day – Yom HaAtzmaut. The Prime Minister remarked that thanks to Israel’s soldiers, especially those who fell, the State of Israel was reestablished.

“Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility,” he told the families.

Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: Yom Hazikaron: PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery: Terrorists Kill, We Build

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Netanyahu on Mt. Herzl: Terrorists Kill, We Build

Terrorists kill, and we build,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told relatives of terror victims at the Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery Wednesday.
Netanyahu at military cemetery

Netanyahu at military cemetery Reuters

“Terrorist kills, and we build,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told relatives of terror victims at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery Wednesday.

“The atrocities of terror against our people know no moral bounds or political borders,” said on Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims.

“The cruelty and hate of terrorists is insatiable,” he added.” If there is one thing that is common to all of these terrorists, it is that they want to erase the People of Israel from the earth and want to uproot our people from our land, the Land of Israel. They will not succeed.:”

The military cemetery is located in Jerusalem, which the Prime Minister said is “our united city and is the holy city of the People of Israel for generations.”

“We will not stop building and developing, and we will continue…to live, grow and let our children and grandchildren reside here,” he continued.

History will overtake our enemies. I know the price has been heavy for you, and I express my appreciation of the people of Israel for your steadfastness and for the heroism of your loved ones.”

Noting that “determination is rooted in our people,” Prime Minister Netanyahu mentioned the victims of terrorists who killed the five Fogel family members last year in Itamar in Samaria and a rabbi and three Jews in Toulouse earlier this year.

Yossi Mendelevich, whose 13-year-old son Yuval was killed in a bus terror attack in Haifa, took the occasion to criticize the government for freeing more than 1,000 terrorists and security prisoners for the return of soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity after ore than five years.

He said the exchange divided the public. “Is it reasonable that a terrorist responsible for the murder of an entire family will be goes free?” he asked. “Is it reasonable that the terrorist responsible for the atrocious slaughter in a hotel can celebrate with his family?”

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Yom Hazikaron Memorial Service for the Victims of Terror on Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery

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PM Netanyahu’s Address at the Memorial Service for the Victims of Terror

Source: PMO, 4-25-12


Photo by GPO

The atrocities carried out by terrorists against our people know no moral boundaries, nor political boundaries.  The malice and hatred of the terrorists is insatiable.  One thing that these murderers all have in common is their desire to annihilate the Jewish people and to uproot it from its land, the Land of Israel.  They will not succeed.

We are here in Jerusalem, and we will remain in Jerusalem – our united capital, and the holy city of the Jewish people from time immemorial.  We will not move from here; we will not stop building; we will not cease creating; we will continue developing and strengthening our state, and living, growing and settling our children and grandchildren in it.

I see this determination engraved deep in our people.  I see it in the families of the fallen; I have seen it in the members of the Fogel and Ben Yishai families; I saw it in the families of those murdered in Toulouse; and I see it in you, in each and every one of you, the members of the bereaved families.

For 64 years, we have been steadfastly holding on to our country, and that is precisely what we will continue doing.  They kill and we build.  In the historic tally, the Jewish people has always prevailed over its bitter enemies.  They passed from the world, but we are here.  I know that the price that you, the members of the families, have paid is unbearably heavy.

So I want to express my own gratitude and the gratitude of the entire nation for your standing strong, and for your courage.

The memory of your loved ones will forever echo in our hearts.

May their memory be blessed.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס האזכרה הממלכתי לחללי פעולות האיבה בהר הרצל

יום רביעי ג’ אייר תשע”ב

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

מכובדי נשיא המדינה שמעון פרס,
יושב ראש הכנסת ראובן ריבלין,
נשיא בית המשפט העליון השופט אשר גרוניס,
שר הרווחה משה כחלון,
הרב הראשי לישראל, הרב יונה מצגר,
הרב הראשי לישראל הראשון לציון, הרב שלמה עמר,
הרמטכ”ל, רב אלוף בני גנץ,
המפכ”ל, רב ניצב יוחנן דנינו,
יושב ראש ההסתדרות הציונית העולמית, אברהם דובדבני,
יושב ראש הסוכנות היהודית, נתן שרנסקי,
ראש עיריית ירושלים ניר ברקת,
סגן הסגל הדיפלומטי, שגריר קמרון בישראל,
מנכ”ל הביטוח הלאומי, פרופסור שלמה מור יוסף
יושב ראש ארגון פעולות האיבה צביקה שחק,
אלופי צה”ל, קצינים, חיילים, שוטרים ומעל הכל המשפחות השכולות.

מעשי הזוועה של הטרוריסטים נגד עמינו אינם יודעים גבולות מוסריים ואינם יודעים גבולות מדיניים. אכזריותם ושנאתם של הטרוריסטים איננה יודעת שובע. אם יש דבר אחד שמשותף לכל המרצחים הללו, הוא שהם רוצים למחוק את העם היהודי מעל פני האדמה והם רוצים לעקור את עמינו מאדמתנו, אדמת ישראל. הם לא יצליחו בזה.

אנחנו כאן בירושלים ונישאר בירושלים, בירתנו המאוחדת ועיר קודשו של העם היהודי לדורותיו. לא נזוז מכאן, לא נחדל מלבנות, לא נחדל מליצור, נמשיך לפתח ולחזק את מדינתנו, לחיות, לגדל, ליישב בה את ילדינו ונכדינו.

אני רואה את הנחישות הזו טבועה עמוק בעמינו. אני רואה אותה במשפחות של הנופלים, ראיתי אותה אצל בני משפחת פוגל ומשפחת בן ישי, ראיתי אותה במשפחות הנרצחים בטולוז ואני רואה אותה אצלכם, אצל כל אחד ואחד מכם, בני המשפחות השכולות.

במשך 64 שנים אנחנו נאחזים במדינתנו וזה בדיוק מה שנמשיך לעשות. הם רוצחים ואנחנו בונים. בחשבון ההיסטורי גבר העם היהודי על כל צורריו. הם עברו מהעולם ואנחנו כאן. אני יודע שהמחיר שנגבה מכם, בני המשפחות הוא כבד מנשוא.

על כן, אני רוצה להביע את הערכתי, את הערכת האומה כולה לעמידתכם האיתנה, לגבורת נפשכם.

זיכרון יקיריכם ימשיך להדהד בליבנו לעד.

יהי זכרם ברוך

Israel Political Brief April 24, 2012: Yom Hazikaron: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Attends Yad Lebanim Memorial Flag-Lowering Ceremony in Jerusalem

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Memorial Day: Israel’s Flag at Half Staff

PM Binyamin Netanyahu attended a flag-lowering ceremony in Jerusalem, saying ‘it cuts your life in two’ when a family member dies in war
Binyamin Netanyahu, Memorial Day

Binyamin Netanyahu, Memorial Day
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and Israel’s Chief Rabbis on Tuesday attended a flag-lowering ceremony in Jerusalem as Memorial Day is set to begin.

“For bereaved families, time stops when you get the terrible news… it cuts your life in two: what was before, and what will never be again,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told more than 200 soldiers and bereaved families gathered for the Yad Lebanim Memorial for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars.

“When you hear the siren tonight, we will turn into one family, and the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance,” Netanyahu said, recalling his own brother – Yoni Netanyahu – who was killed during the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation.

Yad Lebanim (“A Memorial for the Sons”) is the organization that supports bereaved families in cooperation with the Defense Ministry and official government bodies. The Jerusalem memorial, located near the government quarter, is the central memorial for soldiers killed in action in the capital.

Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror will officially commence Tuesday night at 20:00 local time when the siren at the Western Wall is sounded for one minute of silent remembrance.

The ceremony there will be attended by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and many families bereaved by war and terror.

Another siren will sound at 11 a.m., bringing the entire country to a standstill in memory of the fallen soldiers and those killed by acts of terror. Memorial events will take place at military cemeteries, at schools and places of work.

The number who have fallen in IDF service and in terror attacks in Israel since the First Aliya in 1860 presently stands at 22,993.

During its War of Independence the Jewish state lost 6,373 of its people, about 1% of its population, in the war. Of those 2477 were civilians. Some 120 foreign nationals, tourists, and workers were also killed during Israel’s War of Independence.

Last year, 15 Israelis were killed in hostilities. A total of 126 soldiers died while on active duty with the IDF during 2011, as well.

A ceremony at the Knesset this evening will include the reading of “memory poems” by the Knesset Speaker, assorted government ministers, and Israel’s police commissioner, Yohanan Danino.

The poems are written by the bereaved families and friends of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

The flag will remain at half-staff until sundown on Wednesday, when Yom Haatzmaut – Israeli Independence Day – begins.

 

Memorial Day: Israel Prepares to Remember

Natalie Leiba, sister of late Lt. Col. Yehuda Ben Shabbat, told Arutz Sheva that Memorial Day is when memories well up, and loss pervades
Fallen Soldier's Tomb

Fallen Soldier’s Tomb
edk תקשורת

As Israel prepares to begin its Yom Hazikaron [Memorial Day] observance on Tuesday evening many bereaved families are reminded their lives contain a vacuum….

Yom Hazikaron is not only the day on which Israel honors its fallen soldiers, but also those killed in terror attacks by those seeking the destruction of the Jewish state.

Memorial services are held in cemetaries, government buildings, military bases, schools, and private venues to honor the dead and remind the Jewish nation of the cost of freedom and national sovereignty in its ancestral homeland.

Beginning at sundown on Tuesday, Yom Hazikaron will continue until sundown on Wednesday, when Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebration will begin.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 24, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks to the Bereaved Families on Yom Hazikaron

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks to the Bereaved Families

Source: PMO, 4-24-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks to the bereaved families on the occasion of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars:

“My brothers and sisters, members of bereaved families, it was the heartfelt duty of our dear ones that led them to face the enemy.  It is the duty of our conscience that leads us to stand with eyes closed and not only remember but look toward the future as well.  Today, the People of Israel lay aside disagreements and stand as one beside you.  Today we remember the fallen of Israel’s wars, all of our dear ones.  Each one had a family.  Every name has a life’s story of its own; an entire world has been cut short.

As a member of a bereaved family, Remembrance Day is very significant for me.  It is not only a national day of remembrance, it is also a private day of remembrance for me and my family, as it is for all of you.

After Remembrance Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday.  The unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our dear ones who fell in Israel’s wars did not fall in vain.  Thanks to them, the State arose.  Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility.

I can tell you, members of bereaved families: ‘Comfort you, comfort you My people‘ be comforted in the building up of the country, in the building up of Zion, and do not know sorrow anymore.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 24, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at Yom Hazikaron Memorial Day Service

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PM Netanyahu’s Address at Memorial Day Service

Source: PMO, 4-24-12

photo by GPO

Today, the State of Israel lowers its flag to half-mast in honor of the fallen soldiers and the bereaved families.  Like you, my dear brothers and sisters, on every Memorial Day I think of my dear fallen brother; I think about my parents who lost their beloved son, and about my brother Iddo, who lost his eldest brother.  And like many other citizens, I think about my brothers in arms who fell besides me, who are no more.
I remember Haim Ben Yona from Kibbutz Yehiam. Haim was an outstanding young man. He fell next to me while we were crossing the Suez Canal in the dead of night.
I also remember my fellow soldiers Zohar Ben Linik and David Ben Hamo, both remarkable fellows who were killed during preparations for a military operation, shortly after we enlisted together to the Special Forces unit Sayeret Matkal.  I escorted Zohar and David, who were seriously injured, to the hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.
Zohar was good looking, multi-talented and vibrant, an exceptional person.  David Ben Hamo died in my arms on the drive from the training ground to the hospital.  He came from Be’er Sheva; he was highly intelligent, a gifted athlete and an excellent student at the Boyer High School.  He had a nobility and gentleness that appealed to anyone who met him.  When they say that it’s the best ones who fall, they mean people like Haim and Zohar and David.
Decades later, I visited David’s home in Beer Sheva, and I went into his room.  The room was left exactly as he had left it the last time he was there.  For us, the bereaved families, time stops as soon as we get the terrible news. A brutal sword rips our lives in two, and our lives will never be the same.

When the siren goes off this evening, we will all become one family. The citizens of Israel will grieve singly, but will be united in remembrance.  They will bow their heads respectfully in memory of those who fell and sacrificed their lives to defend our people.  It is thanks to them that we were given our independence and the privilege to live securely in our country.

May their memory be blessed.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס יום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל של ארגון יד לבנים

יום שלישי ב’ אייר תשע”ב

מכובדי יו”ר הכנסת, ראובן ריבלין,
המשנה לנשיא ביהמ”ש העליון, השופט אליעזר ריבלין,
הרב הראשי לישראל, הרב שלמה עמר,
הרב הראשי לישראל, הרב יונה מצגר,
סגן יו”ר הכנסת, חה”כ דני דנון,
ראש עיריית ירושלים, ניר ברקת,
מנכ”ל משרד הביטחון, אודי שני,
מנכ”ל משרד הרווחה, נחום איצקוביץ’,
אלופי צה”ל,
יו”ר ארגון יד לבנים הארצי, אלי בן-שם,
יו”ר ארגון יד לבנים בירושלים, אלי דהן,
יו”ר ארגון אלמנות ויתומי צה”ל, הגברת נאווה שהם,
יו”ר האגודה למען החייל, אביגדור קהלני,
מתנדבי משרד הביטחון,
מפקדים וחיילים,
אבל מעל הכל – משפחות שכולות יקרות,

מדינת ישראל מורידה היום את הדגל לחצי התורן לאות הזדהות עם הנופלים ועם אחיהם, בני המשפחות השכולות. כמוכם, אחיי ואחיותיי, בכל יום זיכרון אני חושב על יקירי שנפל, אני חושב על הוריי שאיבדו בן אהוב ועל אחי עידו שאיבד את אחיו הבכור. כמו אזרחים רבים, אני נזכר בחבריי לנשק שנפלו לצידי, שאינם עוד.

אני נזכר בחיים בן יונה, בן קיבוץ יחיעם. חיים, שהיה משכמו ומעלה, שנפל לידי בקרב אש כשחצינו באישון ליל את תעלת סואץ. אני נזכר גם בחבריי לנשק, זהר ליניק ודוד בן חמו המופלאים, שנפלו בזמן ההכנות למבצע צבאי, זמן קצר לאחר שהתגייסנו יחד לסיירת מטכ”ל. ליוויתי את זהר ודוד הפצועים אנושות בדרך לבית החולים, שם נקבע מותם.

זהר היה יפה תואר, רב כישרונות, תוסס, אדם למופת. דוד בן חמו נפטר בזרועותיי במהלך הנסיעה משטח האימונים לבית החולים. הוא בא משכונה בבאר שבע, הוא היה נער מחונן, אתלט מוכשר, תלמיד מצטיין בפנימיית בויאר בירושלים. הייתה בו, בדוד, אצילות ועדינות ששבו את ליבם של כל אלה שהכירו אותו. כשאומרים שהטובים ביותר הם אלה שנופלים, מתכוונים לאנשים כמו חיים, זהר ודוד.

כשביקרתי עשרות שנים לאחר מכן בביתו של דוד בבאר שבע, נכנסתי לחדרו. החדר נשאר בדיוק כפי שהיה כשדוד עזב אותו בפעם האחרונה. עבורנו, המשפחות השכולות, הזמן נעצר ברגע שנתקבלה הבשורה המרה. חרב אכזרית ביתרה את חיינו לשניים ומה שהיה לפני לא ישוב עוד.

ביום הזה האומה כולה עוצרת מלכת ונעמדת דום. כשתישמע הצפירה הערב נהפוך כולנו למשפחה אחת. אזרחי ישראל יתייחדו ביגון ויתאחדו בזיכרון. הם ירכינו ראשם בהוקרה לאלה שנפלו ושהקריבו את חייהם להגנת עמנו. בזכותם ניתנה לנו עצמאותנו והזכות לחיות בביטחון בארצנו.

יהיה זכרם ברוך

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Yom Hazikaron Memorial Service for IDF Fallen Soldiers on Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery

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PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Memorial Service for IDF Fallen Soldiers

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 4-24-12

We bow our heads and fly our flag at half-mast in honor of our loved ones, in commemoration of the members of the underground organizations, security forces, intelligence, police, and the IDF who fell in Israel’s campaigns.

Not far from here, Rachel the Matriarch wept for her children. Today, some 4,000 years later, we weep for our sons and daughters who fell for our right to be a free people in our country.

My fellow members of the family of bereavement, I am familiar with what you experience today, and on every day. I am one of you. How does one contain the torment of parents who have lost their son or daughter, the tragedy of children never knowing their fathers, the sensation of severed limbs felt by bereaved siblings, the never-ending longing of a young widow for adolescent love, never to be experienced again?

My brothers and sisters, I stand here today on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, as the Prime Minister of Israel and as a bereaved brother. Two days ago I came here with my family and I stood by the grave of my older brother, Yoni. Yoni, I miss you; I miss you today and every single day. I feel your absence at big events and little occurrences, at happy occasions and sad moments.

My brothers and sisters in the family of bereavement, we all feel that way. Memorial Days come and go, and suddenly we realize that the number of years without our loved ones exceeds the number of years we had them by our sides. As time goes on, when we face difficult moments we search for shreds of new memories, any mark of our fallen loved ones. When anyone says: “I knew him,” we immediately ask if they have a photograph with him, or a scrap of paper, a memory, a letter? We seek any anecdote that might breathe life into the lifeless, who are alive inside of us.

I know, time is supposed to heal everything. That is not true. The years pass and the ache remains. But in time, that flash of sharp pain is dulled by other instances filled with memories of the good times we had with our beloved.

Dear families, we feel that pain day in and day out. But today, on Memorial Day, our private pain becomes national grief. As we stand here by the graves of our fallen family members in cemeteries all over Israel, the entire nation stands with us. It stands in silence, bows its head and cherishes the memories of the fallen and their families. Today we are one big family, because our people, well versed in sorrow, knows that its independence exacted the price of the courage of our finest; it knows that it is thanks to those who fell that we are alive today.

May the memory of the fallen, the memory of our dearly loved ones, be forever cherished in the national memory.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס יום הזיכרון הממלכתי לחללי מערכות ישראל בהר הרצל

יום רביעי ג’ אייר תשע”ב

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

מכובדי נשיא המדינה,

מכובדיי כולם,

בני המשפחות היקרים,

אנחנו מרכינים עתה ראש ודגל לכבודם, לזכרם של יקירינו, חללי מערכות ישראל שנפלו במחתרות, בזרועות הביטחון, המודיעין והמשטרה, ובצבא ההגנה לישראל. לא הרחק מכאן בכתה רחל אימנו על בניה. והיום, כמעט 4,000 שנים לאחר מכן, אנו מבכים את בנינו ובנותינו שנפלו על זכותנו להיות עם חופשי במולדתנו.

אחיי ואחיותיי למשפחת השכול, אני יודע מה עובר עליכם ביום הזה ובכל יום, אני אחד מכם. איך ניתן להכיל את הייסורים של הורים שאיבדו את בנם או בתם, את הטרגדיה של ילדים קטנים שלא יכירו לעולם את אביהם, את גדיעת האיברים שחשים אחים ואחיות שכולים, את הגעגוע האינסופי של אלמנה צעירה לאהבת נעורים שלא תשוב לעולם?

אחיי ואחיותיי, אני עומד כאן היום בהר הרצל בירושלים כראש ממשלת ישראל וכאח שכול. שלשום עליתי להר הזה עם משפחתי ועמדתי ליד קברו של אחי הבכור, יוני. יוני, אני מתגעגע אליך, אני מתגעגע אליך היום ואני מתגעגע אליך בכל יום. אתה חסר לי ברגעים הגדולים וברגעים הקטנים, ברגעים השמחים וברגעים העצובים.

אחיי ואחיותיי למשפחת השכול, כך כולנו מרגישים. יום זיכרון רודף יום זיכרון ופתאום אנחנו מגלים שמניין השנים שיקירינו כבר אינם איתנו גדול ממניין השנים שהם היו לצידנו. עם חלוף הזמן בצר לנו אנחנו מחפשים כל בדל של זיכרון חדש, כל סימן ליקירנו שנפלו. כשמישהו ניגש אלינו ואומר – הכרתי אותו, אנחנו מיד שואלים – יש לך צילום משותף? אולי איזו פיסת נייר? זיכרון כלשהו? אולי איזה מכתב? אנחנו מחפשים את הסיפור הקטן ביותר שיפיח חיים במתים שחיים בתוכנו.

אני יודע, אומרים שהזמן מרפא הכל. זה איננו נכון. השנים חולפות והכאב נשאר. אבל עם השנים נמהל אותו רגע של כאב חד ברגעים אחרים של זיכרון הימים הטובים שידענו במחיצת היקרים לנו מכל.

משפחות יקרות, זהו הכאב שאנחנו חשים יום יום, אבל ביום הזה, יום הזיכרון, הכאב הפרטי שלנו הופך ליגון לאומי. בעומדנו כאן, ליד קברי יקירינו בבית העלמין ברחבי הארץ העם כולו עומד סביבנו. עומד בדממה, מרכין ראש ומאמץ לליבו את הנופלים ומשפחותיהם. והיום כולנו משפחה אחת גדולה. כי עמנו למוד הסבל יודע שחירותו הושגה במחיר גבורתם של טובי בנינו, יודע שבזכות הנופלים אנו חיים.

יהי זכרם של הנופלים, זכרם של יקירינו, נצור בזיכרון האומה לעד

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Honoring the Pledge of ‘never again’ & Saying ‘I’ll be there for Israel’

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President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama at Holocaust museum: ‘I’ll be there for Israel’

Source: JTA, 4-23-12

President Obama in an address at a Holocaust remembrance event said he would “always be there for Israel” and defended his administration’s record on preventing atrocities.

Obama spoke Monday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a few days after Holocaust Remembrance Day. Prior to his address, he took a tour of the museum guided by Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust memoirist and Nobel Peace laureate.

He recounted meeting with a woman at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, when he was a presidential candidate in 2008, who told him that the Jews only had one state.

“I said I would always be there for Israel,” Obama said, and he cited the steps he has taken to isolate Iran because of its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Obama also recounted steps taken by his administration through military and diplomatic action to prevent atrocities in Sudan, Libya, Uganda and Ivory Coast.

The president has come under pressure in recent months for not doing more to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose crackdown on opponents has killed thousands. Obama pledged to keep working with allies to bring about “the end of the Assad regime.”

Elsewhere in his address, however, he said that his commitment to preventing atrocities “does not mean we intervene militarily every time there is an injustice in the world.”

Obama levies new tech sanctions on Syria, Iran:

Source: AP, 4-23-12

Under pressure to stop the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown, President Barack Obama on Monday levied new sanctions on people and entities in Syria and Iran that use technology to target their citizens and perpetrate human rights abuses.
Obama’s announcement underscored the degree to which technology, from cellphones to social media, has fueled popular uprisings in countries throughout the Arab world and at the same time has given autocratic regimes new ways to track dissidents and suppress political dissent.

“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” said Obama, as he announced the sanctions during a solemn speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Surrounded by the haunting memories of the Holocaust, Obama spoke broadly about the international community’s obligation to prevent the “madness” of mass killings. And he issued a sharp warning to governments that launch violent crackdowns on civilians.

“National sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people,” he said….READ MORE

President Obama Speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Musuem

Source: WH, 4-23-12

Today, President Obama spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about honoring the pledge of “never again” by making sure we are doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities and save lives.

After being introduced by Professor Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, the President spoke of the importance of telling our children—and all future generations—about that dark and evil time in human history when six million innocent men, women, and children were murdered just because they were Jewish.

We must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, “never again” is a challenge to us all — to pause and to look within.

For the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec, but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women. And we have seen it again — madness that can sweep through peoples, sweep through nations, embed itself. The killings in Cambodia, the killings in Rwanda, the killings in Bosnia, the killings in Darfur — they shock our conscience, but they are the awful extreme of a spectrum of ignorance and intolerance that we see every day; the bigotry that says another person is less than my equal, less than human. These are the seeds of hate that we cannot let take root in our heart.

President Obama has made it clear that “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.” Last year he issued a Presidential Directive to make sure that the U.S. has the neccesary structures and mechanisms in place to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. He also established an Atrocities Prevention Board to bring together senior officials from across our government to focus on this critical mission. And there’s more work to be done:

Going forward, we’ll strengthen our tools across the board, and we’ll create new ones. The intelligence community will prepare, for example, the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the risk of mass atrocities and genocide. We’re going to institutionalize the focus on this issue. Across government, “alert channels” will ensure that information about unfolding crises — and dissenting opinions — quickly reach decision-makers, including me.

Our Treasury Department will work to more quickly deploy its financial tools to block the flow of money to abusive regimes. Our military will take additional steps to incorporate the prevention of atrocities into its doctrine and its planning. And the State Department will increase its ability to surge our diplomats and experts in a crisis. USAID will invite people and high-tech companies to help create new technologies to quickly expose violations of human rights. And we’ll work with other nations so the burden is better shared — because this is a global responsibility.

In short, we need to be doing everything we can to prevent and respond to these kinds of atrocities — because national sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people.

President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel Light Candles
President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel light candles in the Hall of Remembrance during a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Washington, D.C.

10:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everyone. It is a great honor to be with you here today. Of course, it is a truly humbling moment to be introduced by Elie Wiesel. Along with Sara Bloomfield, the outstanding director here, we just spent some time among the exhibits, and this is now the second visit I’ve had here. My daughters have come here. It is a searing occasion whenever you visit. And as we walked, I was taken back to the visit that Elie mentioned, the time that we traveled together to Buchenwald.

And I recall how he showed me the barbed-wire fences and the guard towers. And we walked the rows where the barracks once stood, where so many left this Earth — including Elie’s father, Shlomo. We stopped at an old photo — men and boys lying in their wooden bunks, barely more than skeletons. And if you look closely, you can see a 16-year old boy, looking right at the camera, right into your eyes. You can see Elie.

And at the end of our visit that day, Elie spoke of his father. “I thought one day I will come back and speak to him,” he said, “of times in which memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.” Elie, you’ve devoted your life to upholding that sacred duty. You’ve challenged us all — as individuals, and as nations — to do the same, with the power of your example, the eloquence of your words, as you did again just now. And so to you and Marion, we are extraordinarily grateful.

To Sara, to Tom Bernstein, to Josh Bolten, members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and everyone who sustains this living memorial — thank you for welcoming us here today. To the members of Congress, members of the diplomatic corps, including Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel, we are glad to be with you.

And most of all, we are honored to be in the presence of men and women whose lives are a testament to the endurance and the strength of the human spirit — the inspiring survivors. It is a privilege to be with you, on a very personal level. As I’ve told some of you before, I grew up hearing stories about my great uncle — a soldier in the 89th Infantry Division who was stunned and shaken by what he saw when he helped to liberate Ordruf, part of Buchenwald. And I’ll never forget what I saw at Buchenwald, where so many perished with the words of Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil on their lips.

I’ve stood with survivors, in the old Warsaw ghettos, where a monument honors heroes who said we will not go quietly; we will stand up, we will fight back. And I’ve walked those sacred grounds at Yad Vashem, with its lesson for all nations — the Shoah cannot be denied.

During my visit to Yad Vashem I was given a gift, inscribed with those words from the Book of Joel: “Has the like of this happened in your days or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell theirs, and their children the next generation.” That’s why we’re here. Not simply to remember, but to speak.

I say this as a President, and I say it as a father. We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history. The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish. We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten. Let us tell our children not only how they died, but also how they lived — as fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters who loved and hoped and dreamed, just like us.

We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen — because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts, and because so many others stood silent. Let us also tell our children about the Righteous Among the Nations. Among them was Jan Karski, a young Polish Catholic, who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself.

Jan Karski passed away more than a decade ago. But today, I’m proud to announce that this spring I will honor him with America’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Applause.)

We must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, “never again” is a challenge to us all — to pause and to look within.

For the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec, but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women. And we have seen it again — madness that can sweep through peoples, sweep through nations, embed itself. The killings in Cambodia, the killings in Rwanda, the killings in Bosnia, the killings in Darfur — they shock our conscience, but they are the awful extreme of a spectrum of ignorance and intolerance that we see every day; the bigotry that says another person is less than my equal, less than human. These are the seeds of hate that we cannot let take root in our heart.

“Never again” is a challenge to reject hatred in all of its forms — including anti-Semitism, which has no place in a civilized world. And today, just steps from where he gave his life protecting this place, we honor the memory of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, whose family joins us today.

“Never again” is a challenge to defend the fundamental right of free people and free nations to exist in peace and security — and that includes the State of Israel. And on my visit to the old Warsaw Ghetto, a woman looked me in the eye, and she wanted to make sure America stood with Israel. She said, “It’s the only Jewish state we have.” And I made her a promise in that solemn place. I said I will always be there for Israel.

So when efforts are made to equate Zionism to racism, we reject them. When international fora single out Israel with unfair resolutions, we vote against them. When attempts are made to delegitimize the state of Israel, we oppose them. When faced with a regime that threatens global security and denies the Holocaust and threatens to destroy Israel, the United States will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

“Never again” is a challenge to societies. We’re joined today by communities who’ve made it your mission to prevent mass atrocities in our time. This museum’s Committee of Conscience, NGOs, faith groups, college students, you’ve harnessed the tools of the digital age — online maps and satellites and a video and social media campaign seen by millions. You understand that change comes from the bottom up, from the grassroots. You understand — to quote the task force convened by this museum — “preventing genocide is an achievable goal.” It is an achievable goal. It is one that does not start from the top; it starts from the bottom up.

It’s remarkable — as we walked through this exhibit, Elie and I were talking as we looked at the unhappy record of the State Department and so many officials here in the United States during those years. And he asked, “What would you do?” But what you all understand is you don’t just count on officials, you don’t just count on governments. You count on people — and mobilizing their consciences.

And finally, “never again” is a challenge to nations. It’s a bitter truth — too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.

Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol. And I said that we had to do “everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.” And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds. Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.”

That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world. We cannot and should not. It does mean we possess many tools — diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion — and using these tools over the past three years, I believe — I know — that we have saved countless lives.

When the referendum in South Sudan was in doubt, it threatened to reignite a conflict that had killed millions. But with determined diplomacy, including by some people in this room, South Sudan became the world’s newest nation. And our diplomacy continues, because in Darfur, in Abyei, in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, the killing of innocents must come to an end. The Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan must have the courage to negotiate — because the people of Sudan and South Sudan deserve peace. That is work that we have done, and it has saved lives.

When the incumbent in Côte D’Ivoire lost an election but refused to give it up — give up power, it threatened to unleash untold ethnic and religious killings. But with regional and international diplomacy, and U.N. peacekeepers who stood their ground and protected civilians, the former leader is now in The Hague, and Côte D’Ivoire is governed by its rightful leader — and lives were saved.

When the Libyan people demanded their rights and Muammar Qaddafi’s forces bore down on Benghazi, a city of 700,000, and threatened to hunt down its people like rats, we forged with allies and partners a coalition that stopped his troops in their tracks. And today, the Libyan people are forging their own future, and the world can take pride in the innocent lives that we saved.

And when the Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony continued its atrocities in Central Africa, I ordered a small number of American advisors to help Uganda and its neighbors pursue the LRA. And when I made that announcement, I directed my National Security Council to review our progress after 150 days. We have done so, and today I can announce that our advisors will continue their efforts to bring this madman to justice, and to save lives. (Applause.) It is part of our regional strategy to end the scourge that is the LRA, and help realize a future where no African child is stolen from their family and no girl is raped and no boy is turned into a child soldier.

We’ve stepped up our efforts in other ways. We’re doing more to protect women and girls from the horror of wartime sexual violence. With the arrest of fugitives like Ratko Mladic, charged with ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the world sent a message to war criminals everywhere: We will not relent in bringing you to justice. Be on notice. And for the first time, we explicitly barred entry into the United States of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Now we’re doing something more. We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities. So I created the first-ever White House position dedicated to this task. It’s why I created a new Atrocities Prevention Board, to bring together senior officials from across our government to focus on this critical mission. This is not an afterthought. This is not a sideline in our foreign policy. The board will convene for the first time today, at the White House. And I’m pleased that one of its first acts will be to meet with some of your organizations — citizens and activists who are partners in this work, who have been carrying this torch.

Going forward, we’ll strengthen our tools across the board, and we’ll create new ones. The intelligence community will prepare, for example, the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the risk of mass atrocities and genocide. We’re going to institutionalize the focus on this issue. Across government, “alert channels” will ensure that information about unfolding crises — and dissenting opinions — quickly reach decision-makers, including me.

Our Treasury Department will work to more quickly deploy its financial tools to block the flow of money to abusive regimes. Our military will take additional steps to incorporate the prevention of atrocities into its doctrine and its planning. And the State Department will increase its ability to surge our diplomats and experts in a crisis. USAID will invite people and high-tech companies to help create new technologies to quickly expose violations of human rights. And we’ll work with other nations so the burden is better shared — because this is a global responsibility.

In short, we need to be doing everything we can to prevent and respond to these kinds of atrocities — because national sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people. (Applause.)

We recognize that, even as we do all we can, we cannot control every event. And when innocents suffer, it tears at our conscience. Elie alluded to what we feel as we see the Syrian people subjected to unspeakable violence, simply for demanding their universal rights. And we have to do everything we can. And as we do, we have to remember that despite all the tanks and all the snipers, all the torture and brutality unleashed against them, the Syrian people still brave the streets. They still demand to be heard. They still seek their dignity. The Syrian people have not given up, which is why we cannot give up.

And so with allies and partners, we will keep increasing the pressure, with a diplomatic effort to further isolate Assad and his regime, so that those who stick with Assad know that they are making a losing bet. We’ll keep increasing sanctions to cut off the regime from the money it needs to survive. We’ll sustain a legal effort to document atrocities so killers face justice, and a humanitarian effort to get relief and medicine to the Syrian people. And we’ll keep working with the “Friends of Syria” to increase support for the Syrian opposition as it grows stronger.

Indeed, today we’re taking another step. I’ve signed an executive order that authorizes new sanctions against the Syrian government and Iran and those that abet them for using technologies to monitor and track and target citizens for violence. These technologies should not empower — these technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them. And it’s one more step that we can take toward the day that we know will come — the end of the Assad regime that has brutalized the Syrian people — and allow the Syrian people to chart their own destiny.

Even with all the efforts I’ve described today, even with everything that hopefully we have learned, even with the incredible power of museums like this one, even with everything that we do to try to teach our children about our own responsibilities, we know that our work will never be done. There will be conflicts that are not easily resolved. There will be senseless deaths that aren’t prevented. There will be stories of pain and hardship that test our hopes and try our conscience. And in such moments it can be hard to imagine a more just world.

It can be tempting to throw up our hands and resign ourselves to man’s endless capacity for cruelty. It’s tempting sometimes to believe that there is nothing we can do. And all of us have those doubts. All of us have those moments — perhaps especially those who work most ardently in these fields.

So in the end, I come back to something Elie said that day we visited Buchenwald together. Reflecting on all that he had endured, he said, “We had the right to give up.” “We had the right to give up on humanity, to give up on culture, to give up on education, to give up on the possibility of living one’s life with dignity, in a world that has no place for dignity.” They had that right. Imagine what they went through. They had the right to give up. Nobody would begrudge them that. Who’d question someone giving up in such circumstances?

But, Elie said, “We rejected that possibility, and we said, no, we must continue believing in a future.” To stare into the abyss, to face the darkness and insist there is a future — to not give up, to say yes to life, to believe in the possibility of justice.

To Elie and to the survivors who are here today, thank you for not giving up. You show us the way. (Applause.) You show us the way. If you cannot give up, if you can believe, then we can believe. If you can continue to strive and speak, then we can speak and strive for a future where there’s a place for dignity for every human being. That has been the cause of your lives. It must be the work of our nation and of all nations.

So God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END
10:27 A.M. EDT

Fact Sheet: Sanctions Against Those Complicit in Grave Human Rights Abuses Via Information Technology in Syria and Iran

“Cyberspace, and the technologies that enable it, allow people of every nationality, race, faith and point of view to communicate, cooperate, and prosper like never before. We encourage people all over the world to use digital media…and denounce those who harass, unfairly arrest, threaten, or commit violent acts against the people who use these technologies.
-President Obama, International Strategy for Cyberspace, May 2011
Twenty-first century threats to human rights require twenty-first century tools to combat them. This Administration recognizes that some oppressive governments seek to target their citizens for grave human rights abuses through the use of information and communications technology. In an Executive Order signed today, President Obama authorized a new program of sanctions, aimed at those who facilitate serious human rights abuses in Syria and Iran through such means.

The same Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite communications, mobile phone, and Internet technology employed by activists across the Middle East and North Africa and around the world is being used against them in Syria and Iran, as the world has witnessed particularly clearly in Syria in recent weeks. The Syrian and Iranian governments are rapidly increasing their capabilities to disrupt, monitor, and track communications networks that are essential to the ability of Syrians and Iranians to communicate with each other and the outside world.

The Executive Order announced today by President Obama establishes financial and travel sanctions against those who perpetrate or facilitate “Grave Human Rights Abuses Via Information Technology” in Syria and Iran (or “GHRAVITY sanctions”) and will:

• Degrade the ability of the Syrian and Iranian governments to acquire and utilize such technology to oppress their people;
• Hold accountable those government officials, companies, and individuals committing or facilitating human rights abuses.
• Send a clear message that the United States recognizes and is committed to combating this new and growing human rights threat;
• Further isolate the regimes in Damascus and Tehran;
• Strengthen international norms against using information and communications technology to commit human rights abuses;
The order authorizes sanctions against persons determined:

• To have operated, or to have directed the operation of, information and communications technology that facilitates computer or network disruption, monitoring or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria;
• To have sold, leased, or otherwise provided, directly or indirectly, goods, services, or technology to Iran or Syria likely to be used to facilitate computer or network disruption, monitoring or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria;
• To have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, those activities; or
• To be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.
We will implement this sanctions instrument consistent with our strong belief in the need to ensure that the citizens of Syria and Iran have access to information and communications technology that facilitates their access to information and ability to protect and organize themselves in the face of oppression. This order underscores our efforts to help the Syrian and Iranian people pierce through the “electronic curtain” that the Syrian and Iranian regimes have put in place. The Administration recognizes the importance of preserving the global telecommunications supply chains for essential products and services, and will take great care to ensure the utilization of sanctions does not disrupt transactions necessary to enable the Syrian and Iranian people to communicate.

Given the deplorable and deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and Iran, our urgent priority is to pursue sanctions against those two governments and entities and individuals in those countries helping them to commit human rights abuses. The order also authorizes sanctions against third-country entities or individuals where they meet the criteria in the order.

Israel Political Brief April 22, 2012: Israeli Cabinet approves Hall of Names memorial for Israel’s fallen soldiers, terror victims on Mount Herzl

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Memorial to Israel’s fallen soldiers, terror victims gets go-ahead

Source: JTA, 4-22-12

Israel’s Cabinet approved the establishment of a memorial on Mount Herzl to Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

The Hall of Names memorial approved Sunday will list the 22,993 names of those who have been killed fighting in Israel’s declared and undeclared wars and those slain in terrorist attacks. The names of the dead will be inscribed on bricks.

Also Sunday, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz visited the graves of three soldiers who recently died while in uniform, including 2nd Lt. Hila Bezaleli, who was killed last week when the lighting scaffolding collapsed onto the stage set up during a rehearsal at Mount Herzl for the annual Memorial Day/Independence Day ceremony. Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Bezaleli’s parents.

The memorial hall, which is expected to cost nearly $11 million, also will serve as a venue for state ceremonies and official visits, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has been talking about a central hall to enshrine the memories of the fallen for decades and “the time has come to make a decision.”

“We are a people that overflows with memory,” he said. “We are doing this out of deep recognition of the contribution of the fallen, and I hope that such places will no longer be necessary.”

According to official figures released in advance of this week’s Israel’s Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, the total number of fallen security personnel and terror victims from 1860 to 2012 stands at 22,993, with 126 killed since last  Remembrance Day. There are 10,524 bereaved families of security personnel, 2,396 orphans and 4,992 widows of the Israeli military and the defense establishment.

Cabinet Approves Establishment of Hall of Names for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars

Source: PMO, 4-22-12

The Cabinet today unanimously approved the establishment of a ‘Hall of Names’ for the fallen of Israel’s wars, in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, at a cost of approximately NIS 40 million.

The Hall of Names will, under one roof, enshrine the names of all those who have fallen in Israel’s wars and will serve as a venue for state ceremonies and official visits.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that, “We have no central hall to enshrine the memories of the fallen of Israel’s wars.  After decades of talking about it, the time has come to make a decision.  We are a people that overflows with memory.  We are doing this out of deep recognition of the contribution of the fallen, and I hope that such places will no longer be necessary.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 22, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Increasing Economic Competitiveness & Earth Day

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 4-22-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Today I will submit for Cabinet approval the recommendations of the committee on increasing competitiveness, what is known as the cartelization committee.  We want to increase competitiveness in the economy by reducing cartelization, by reducing or cancelling cartels and monopolies.  When there is more competition, prices go down.

We are doing things that have not been done here for years.  For years limiting cartels and monopolies was talked about, but we are taking action.  In the last one-and-a-half years important work has been coordinated between me, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, my economic advisor, Eugene Kandel, Finance Ministry personnel, Prime Minister’s Office personnel and others.  There are here a series of very important recommendations.  On the one hand, these are daring decisions, but they are also proportionate so as to ensure the continued competitiveness of the economy and in order to lower the cost of living.  We are already seeing the first achievements in this regard.  For example, I saw the Central Bureau of Statistics report that food prices did not rise last year even though the CPI did, contrary to widely-held points-of-view.  But this is not enough.  We want to lower prices and lowering prices is achieved by increasing competitiveness.

Therefore, after the Cabinet decision, I would like to pass the recommendations on to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.  We must move quickly so that we will be able to legislate the changes that will open the economy to competitiveness, increase competitiveness and lower prices.

I would also like to say that even before the High Court of Justice decision on the Tal Law, I made it clear that we would replace the Tal Law with a different law.  This law will be replaced by another law in order for there to be a more equitable, just and fair division of the burden in the State of Israel for all its citizens, Arab and Jew alike.  We will do so, and we will do so responsibly in a manner that does not set public against public.  This is very important for us now and always.

Third, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat briefed me on the actions that she is taking in order to defeat violence on our football pitches.  I fully back her in this regard.  We must defeat violence on football pitches.  We cannot see such kicking and fisticuffs.  We want to see football.  If there is violence – there will not be football.  Therefore, this violence must be uprooted in order to return the game that Israelis, myself included, love very much.

Fourth, to the planet.  This evening we will mark Earth Day with a symbolic action.  It will not solve the problems, but it will create a commitment – not just national, but international – to try and deal with results such as global warming.  When I was a boy, there was a slogan – ‘It’s a pity to waste even single a drop’ – and Israeli children would go and see dripping faucets and would close them.

Just as it is a pity to waste a drop, so it is a pity to waste electricity.  I ask Israelis to join in this welcome initiative, which itself joins Israel to the green revolution, a very positive revolution that also creates new industries.  I would like to ask you, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who has been very active in this area, to take this festive opportunity to say a few words about the Earth.”

Environmental Protection Minister Erdan: “Thank you Prime Minister Netanyahu.  As you mentioned, today, many countries around the world will mark Earth Day, which is a day designed to raise awareness about the environmental crisis, especially that of global warming.  In Israel, the 22 [local] authorities are leading this initiative at 20:00.  I am very proud that your Government is the greenest government that Israel has ever had.  I think that this may be seen in every step and in every ministry, whether in terms of extensive investments in transportation…”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Green in Israeli – not Middle Eastern – terms.”

Environmental Protection Minister Erdan: “Green, green in terms of environmental protection, whether in terms of welcome investments in public transportation and railways, renewable energy and energy efficiency, cleaning the country of pollution, and in investing in the development of metropolitan parks.  In effect, in every field vis-à-vis government ministries.  Today, this evening, as you mentioned, it is not designed to solve the problem, it is designed to provide something that has been lacking.  And what has been lacking is the awareness of every citizen that the Government is taking the lead – but it is not just this.  Each and every one of us can make the difference in every decision and in every daily step that we take.  If everybody thinks how to save electricity, the world and our country will be better off and cleaner, thank you.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Thank you.  Thank you all.  Thank you.”

Israel Political Brief April 20, 2012: Hamas official: No permanent peace agreement with Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Hamas official: No permanent peace agreement with Israel

Source: JTA, 4-20-12

Hamas would view any future agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel not as a permanent peace treaty but rather as a truce, a senior Hamas official told a Jewish newspaper.

Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy director of Hamas’ political bureau, told the Forward newspaper in an interview published online Thursday night that even if a permanent peace agreement were negotiated by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas would not be obligated to recognize it as anything more than a hudna, an Arabic word for a temporary truce.

“We will not recognize Israel as a state,” he said. “It will be like the relationship between Lebanon and Israel or Syria and Israel.”

Abu Marzook spoke with the Forward during two days of sit-down interviews in Cairo, where he now lives. According to the Forward, this was the first-ever interview between a top Hamas official and a Jewish publication….READ MORE

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