Full Text Israel Political Brief May 10, 2016: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Those Who Fell During their Foreign Service Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Those Who Fell During their Foreign Service

Source: PMO, 10-10-16

The names of the 16 people from our Foreign Service who were killed during their service are engraved in iron and stone on the wall of commemoration behind me. The acted bravely and with great dedication to bring word of Israel to the nations. Their lives were cut short by malicious hands. We do not only remember our loved ones through this physical memorial, but first and foremost in our hearts, in the nation’s consciousness, with gratitude to its emissaries for their contribution in strengthening the country’s position.

Our people here in Israel and abroad have for many years faced a dual front: first, on the public diplomacy front where they have been conducting a continual campaign to convince the world of the justness of our actions, deepen our international ties, gain public support and curb the many lies about the Jewish state.

The second front is that of their personal safety. As those who represent sovereign Israel, they themselves are a target for attack. Employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are under threat from parties that use every method available to undermine the relations between Israel and countries around the world. Our representatives stand guard to beat back political propaganda attacks, and because of this they may become victims of physical attacks.

I remember well the first incident. Edna Pe’er’s name is engraved here on the wall. I was a soldier in the Special Forces at the time, and I remember the great shock the Israeli public felt after what happened in Asuncion. Since ancient times it was customary that diplomats were off limits. Not only were they off limits, they were the limit, and it became clear that all-encompassing terror would strike at this foundation of our relations. My fellow soldiers in the unit and I felt at the time that we had to act vigorously against these terrorists who had no consideration for human lives.

Over the years, the State of Israel has had many significant achievements in its determined campaign against terror and against terror directed at diplomats. Warnings keep coming. Clearly, in most cases we are successful in stopping terrorist attacks in Israel and abroad. I say most cases because unfortunately we have experienced tragedies we were unable to stop, during which we lost the best of our people – in Turkey, in London, in Argentina – and every tragedy is burned into our skin.

We make efforts, mainly through the Mossad and the ISA, to defend ourselves and all our employees in the Foreign Service and our representatives abroad. This effort is large-scale, it is unique and it has saved many hundreds of lives, not only in our Foreign Service, but also in the Foreign Services of other countries.

Sometimes these efforts are successful by a hairsbreadth. Here, several years ago, in the situation room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we dealt with a siege that grew ever tighter around our people in the Israeli embassy in Cairo. A wild mob came to slaughter our people and that night we worked with all the tools at our disposal, including threats to extract them using the IDF, which finally tipped the scale and the Egyptian forces, then under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, together with tight coordination on our end from the situation room, and eventually led to a successful outcome in this instance.

The employees of the office and I spoke with the security officer in charge. He told me over the radio, “My name is Yoni”. And I told him, “Yoni, the State of Israel will get you out of there”. I regret that we were unable to do so in other cases that we commemorate today, but I do want to tell you that we spare no effort in defending you while you are defending our country.

Israel is in the eye of a storm. In many ways it serves as the vanguard in the ongoing fight against terror, including terrorism directed at diplomats. There are no compromises to be made with bloodthirsty extremists. We owe ourselves and the following generations a crushing victory by the forces of freedom and enlightenment. At the same time, we continue the mission of those who fell during their Foreign Service, and are expanding in an unprecedented manner, as you here know, the scope of our diplomatic ties – a tight net of relations with approximately 160 countries – and there is still more to be done.

Countries around the world are taking advantage of our capabilities in the fight against terror. They are also growing closer to us because of our proven technological innovation, and this is why Israel is courted and pursued, parallel to the various attacks that continue to be waged against us. I am certain that this accomplishment would make our lost loved ones very proud. Their lives were cut short, but their life’s mission, this mission, is being realized in an impressive fashion.

Dear families, bereaved families, we all bow our heads in memory of the fallen. Losing them left deep wounds on your hearts, all our hearts. The entire nation shares your pain, and of course so does the Foreign Service family from throughout its history. We will continue to pursue the realization of their last will and testament – safeguarding the strength, security, prosperity and well-being of our country. May their memories forever be blessed.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 10, 2016: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers Yom Hazikaron Transcript

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Address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Opening Ceremony of the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers

Source: PMO, 10-10-16 

Honorable Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein,
Distinguished guests, first and foremost my brothers and sisters, members of the bereaved families,

As the son of a bereaved family, I, like you, carry the weight of despair. I know the depths of sadness and the agonizing pain of loss. They are relentless. When I received the news of my brother and later had to break it to my parents, my whole world collapsed. The same thing happened to you. We spend the remainder of our lives struggling to emerge from the ruins. It never fully happens, but there is new life. Today I spoke with the mother of Ben Vanunu, a remarkable young boy who fell in Operation Protective Edge. Sarit and Ilan welcomed a daughter into the world today, and tears of sadness and joy mix together.

Twenty three thousand, four hundred and forty seven – this is the number of Israel’s fallen soldiers, in honor of whom we bow our heads today – in grief, silence, admiration and gratitude. The day bereavement first enters our doorstep is the day our loved ones become no longer just ours. While they fundamentally belong to us, a part of our flesh that has been cut off, they also belong to the nation, a nation that pays tribute to them today and acknowledges the enormity of their sacrifice. Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, Circassians, men and women – we all share one fate.

Anyone who has ever lost a son, a brother, a father, a daughter or a friend has cried out: Why? I myself asked the exact same question when my brother was killed. But in time I came to understand that the question should be: For what? What is the purpose? What is the meaning of the price that we have paid? Our sons and daughters went to battle with their heads held high. They died for a higher calling – to ensure Israel’s existence and guarantee its future. This is precisely the difference, the whole difference, between a beaten and oppressed nation, a persecuted nation that is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers, as we were until 68 years ago, and a nation that lives on its land, builds its country, controls its destiny. But the price is horrible. We know more than anyone how horrible it is.

I try to familiarize myself with the personal stories of many of the fallen. So much power is embodied in what they themselves said and wrote. Avraham Lustig, who fought in the War of Independence and was killed in the Convoy of 35, wrote in his journal a day before he went to battle that suffering is okay and death is okay as long as you know why and what for. Eliraz Peretz, son of our friend Miriam, who fell six years ago on the border with Gaza, adopted this principle: “If you love, love with no limits; if you are going to be friends, be friends with no limits; and if you are going to be a combat soldier, then without limits and give it your all.” Eliav Gelman, an officer in an elite unit who was killed two months ago at the Gush Etzion Junction while trying to protect civilians from a knife-wielding terrorist, used to say to his soldiers: “Self-sacrifice for higher values such as love for the Land of Israel, connection to the succession of generations and contribution to the greater good is what enables our people’s existence in its land.” It is an ongoing account of resilience and strength – on the battlefield, in protecting our borders and at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.

My brothers and sisters, dear families, life in an era of revival and rebirth exacts a personal price and a national price. But our people’s spirit is strong and we believe in the Glory of Israel.

As a 3,000-year-old nation determined to protect its land, we will continue to stand strong in the face of our enemies, build our land, develop our country and guarantee our existence. We will not lose hope for reconciliation with our enemies, but we will first make peace within ourselves. True reconciliation comes from our shared destiny, and there is no deeper or more noble expression of this shared destiny than this day, the day we remember with great love and admiration our sons and daughters, the heroes who sacrificed their lives so that we can live in our land.

May the memory of our loved ones – Israel’s fallen soldiers – be forever blessed.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 22, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Yom Hazikaron Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

Source: PMO, 4-22-15


Photo by:Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

– Translation –
The Honorable President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin,
Distinguished guests,

Three months ago, on this mountain – which more than anything illustrates the cost of our national rebirth –Malka Kalangel, the mother of Major Yochai Kalangel, who was killed on the northern border, stood and cried from the depths of her heart, “How do you say goodbye to your child?” Nothing compares to the power of this cry from a mother and father who are informed of their child’s death. Anyone at their side at the moment they receive the difficult news remembers it for the rest of their life. I do. “How do you say goodbye to your child?” Malka asked. “How do we say goodbye to our son?” my parents asked. “How do I say goodbye to my brother?” I asked.

Last night there was a very moving event at the Knesset, an event that shook us to our very core, during which bereaved family members described that terrible moment in their lives, the moment in which they heard the knock at the door, that same knock by those who came to tell the horrible news that would shatter their lives and change them forever. I received my knock when I was a student in the United States in the guise of a telephone call from my brother, Iddo, telling me of the death of our older brother, Yoni. It was the worst moment of my life, besides one other moment, seven hours later, after a tortuous nightlong journey, when I walked up the path leading to the house of my mother and father, who was teaching at Cornell University in New York at the time. It was my lot to be the one to break the news. I was the one knocking on my parents’ door. Through the wide window in the front of the house, I could see my father pacing back and forth, lost in thought, his hands joined behind his back as was his wont. He suddenly looked up and when he saw me walking up the path, without his saying a word, his expression changed all at once. A bitter cry burst from his throat. I went into the house. As long as I breathe, I will never forget his cry and that of my dear mother. To get the knock at the door from my brother and then knock on my parents’ door – it was as if Yoni had died twice.

For those of us who have been through this hell, no other moment can compare in terms of power, shock, pain and suffering, and we know that the wound never really heals.

This week I met with boys and girls who lost their fathers who were soldiers and officers in the IDF. I saw the grief on their faces, the quiet sadness they radiated. I embraced them and said a prayer in my heart that the passage of time, the force of life and the love of the people would grant them relief and joy later on.

Anyone who has experienced the torments of bereavement and the terror of war, the dead and injured, the amputation of limbs, does not seek out war. When I need to decide whether or not to send soldiers into battle, I think of each soldier and their family as if they were my son, my family. But if we have no choice, we must be ready to charge into battle in order to defend ourselves and our land.

This constant readiness is the only thing that will deter war, or when necessary decide it. This is where we can see the great change that took place in the destiny of our people since the establishment of the State of Israel. Ron Vanunu, the sister of Sergeant Ben Vanunu, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge, said it best. Ron, a high school senior, went to Poland with her school in Ashdod, and at one of the death camps where our people perished, she said, “My brother was killed defending our homeland, but when I am here, I understand that he had the privilege of fighting as part of the Israeli army and he fell while wearing his IDF uniform, wrapped in the Israeli flag.” Ron will join the IDF soon and she is supposed to be posted to the Golani Battalion, in which her brother served.

I knew the fathers and the brothers, and I often meet the sons and the brothers and sisters. “I want to follow in my father’s footsteps”, “I am continuing my brother’s path”, they say. Nothing detracts from the great spirit that breathes through this nation. As with those who came before them, they feel the great and historic responsibility and the justness of our path and our struggle.

The continuum of threats to the existence of Israel requires a continuum of fights and our resilience in this fight depends on our determination, our strength, our unity. The State of Israel will continue to prosper and flourish as long as we are ready to defend ourselves in every situation. I am certain that the tremendous strengths we have will allow us to successfully face every challenge until we reach safe harbor, until our region changes its character, until we reach the desired peace. But this could be a prolonged process and in the meanwhile we grit our teeth, stiffen our upper lips and continue onwards. As one of the IDF widows said so simply and clearly last night at the moving event at the Knesset: Our enemies need to know that they will not break us, that despite the pain we will continue to defend our country, that we are staying right here.

My brothers and sisters, bereaved families, the stories of your loved ones is not only engraved on their headstones, but they are rooted in the hearts of our people. We must continue on their path together and united. It is written in Proverbs, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This is the secret to Israel’s strength. Only here are the shards transformed into one whole thing.

We are one family, Jews and our non-Jewish brothers – Druze, Muslims, Bedouin, Christians, Circassians. We are partners through bad times and good, in grief and in joy. Tonight, as the lights of the Independence torches shine forth, when the lights of the Independence torches shine on this mountain, we will feel profound gratitude for our loved ones, the heroes of the people, Israel’s fallen soldiers. We will cherish the wounded, who stopped enemy attacks with their bodies and we will pray for their recovery. At the same time we will express our recognition of the good of everything we have won, of the wonder of our renaissance, of the gift of freedom, of the miracle of our rebirth.

May the memories of the fallen be forever blessed and their lives tied to the eternity of Israel.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס האזכרה הממלכתי לחללי מערכות ישראל בהר הרצל

22/04/2015
יום רביעי ג’ אייר תשע”ה –

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

“מכובדי נשיא מדינת ישראל, ראובן ריבלין,

מכובדיי כולם.

על ההר הזה, שממחיש יותר מכל את מחיר תקומתנו הלאומית, עמדה לפני שלושה חודשים מלכה קלנגל, אמו של רב סרן יוחאי קלנגל, שנפל בגבול הצפון, וזעקה ממעמקי לבה: “איך אפשר להיפרד מילד?!”. אין משהו שמשתווה בעוצמתו לזעקה הזאת של אם ואב המתבשרים על מות ילדם. כל מי שנמצא לצדם ברגע קבלת הבשורה המרה זוכר זאת כל חייו. גם אני. איך אפשר להיפרד מילד, שאלה מלכה. איך אפשר להיפרד מבן, שאלו הוריי. איך אפשר להיפרד מאח, שאלתי אני.

בערב מרגש אתמול בכנסת, ערב שהרטיט את נימי הנפש, סיפרו בני משפחות השכול על הרגע הנורא הזה בחייהם, הרגע בו שמעו את הנקישה בדלת, אותה נקישה של מבשרי הבשורה הנוראה שריסקה את חייהם ושינתה אותם לעד. את הנקישה שלי קיבלתי אני כשהייתי סטודנט בארה”ב, דרך שיחת טלפון מאחי עידו, שסיפר על נפילתו של יוני אחינו הבכור. זה היה הרגע הנורא בחיי, חוץ מאחד. שבע שעות מאוחר יותר, לאחר נסיעת ייסורים של לילה שלם, פסעתי בשביל שהוביל לביתם של אמי ואבי, שלימד אז באוניברסיטת קורנל במדינת ניו יורק. נפל בגורלי להיות המבשר. אני הייתי הנוקש בדלת הוריי. מבעד לחלון הרחב בחזית ביתו ראיתי את אבי פוסע הלוך וחזור, שקוע במחשבותיו, ידיו שלובות מאחורי גבו בדרכו האופיינית. לפתע הפנה מבטו, וכשראה אותי צועד בשביל בלי שהוא אמר דבר, השתנתה ארשת פניו בבת אחת. זעקה מרה פרצה מפיו. נכנסתי לבית. כל עוד נשימתי באפי, לא אשכח את זעקותיו ואת זעקותיה של אמי היקרה. לקבל את הנקישה בדלת מאחי ולנקוש בדלת הוריי זה היה כאילו יוני מת פעמיים.

לאלה מאיתנו שעברו את התופת הזאת אין רגע שישתווה לו בעוצמה, ההלם, הכאב והייסורים, ואנחנו יודעים שהפצע לעולם לא מגליד באמת.

נפגשתי השבוע עם ילדים וילדות שנתייתמו מאבותיהם, חיילי צה”ל וקציניו. ראיתי את תוגת פניהם, את העצב השקט שבוקע מתוכם. חיבקתי אותם והבעתי תפילה בלבי שמרחק השנים, כוח הסחף של החיים ואהבת העם יתנו להם מזור ושמחה בהמשך חייהם.

כל מי שחווה את ייסורי השכול ואת אימת המלחמה, את ההרוגים והפצועים, את קטיעת האיברים, איננו יכול לשוש אלי קרב. כשאני צריך להחליט אם לשלוח את חיילינו למערכה, אני חושב על כל חייל ומשפחה כאילו היה בני, כאילו מדובר במשפחתי. אבל אם אין לנו ברירה, עלינו להיות מוכנים להטיל עצמנו לחזית המלחמה כדי להגן על עמנו וארצנו.

רק נכונות מתמדת זו תרתיע מלחמה או בעת הצורך תכריע אותה. בזה טמון השינוי הגדול שהתרחש בגורל עמנו מאז הקמתה של מדינת ישראל, והיטיבה לבטא זאת רון וענונו, אחותו של סמל בן וענונו, שנפל במבצע צוק איתן. רון, תלמידת כיתה י”ב, יצאה מטעם בית ספרה באשדוד למסע בפולין, ובאחד מאתרי ההשמדה של בני עמנו היא אמרה: “אח שלי נהרג על הגנת המולדת, אבל כשאני נמצאת כאן אני מבינה שהוא זכה להילחם במסגרת צבא ישראל ונפל כשהוא לבוש מדי צה”ל ועטוף דגל ישראל”. רון תתגייס בקרוב לצה”ל והיא אמורה להשתלב בגדוד גולני, שבו שירת אחיה.

הכרתי את האבות ואת האחים ואני פוגש תכופות את הבנים ואת האחים והאחיות. “אני רוצה ללכת בעקבות אבא”, “אני ממשיכה את דרכו של אחי” – הם אומרים. דבר לא נגרע מהרוח הגדולה שנושבת במפרשי האומה. כקודמיהם, הם חשים בגודל האחריות ההיסטורית ובצדקת דרכנו ומאבקנו.

רצף האיומים על קיום המדינה מחייב רצף של מאבק, ויכולת העמידה במאבק זה מותנית בנחישותנו, בעוצמתנו, באחדותנו. מדינת ישראל תוסיף לשגשג ולפרוח בתנאי שנהיה מוכנים להגן עליה מכל משמר. אני בטוח שהכוחות האדירים שטמונים בנו יאפשרו לנו להתמודד בהצלחה עם כל אתגר, עד שנגיע לחוף מבטחים, עד שאזורנו ישנה פניו, עד שנגיע לשלום המיוחל. אבל זה יכול להיות תהליך ממושך, ובינתיים עלינו לקפוץ ידינו, לחשוק שפתותינו, להמשיך הלאה. כפי שאמרה זאת בפשטות ובבהירות מזוקקת אחת מאלמנות צה”ל אמש בערב המרגש בכנסת: אויבינו צריכים לדעת שהם לא ישברו אותנו, שחרף הכאב אנחנו נמשיך להגן על המדינה שלנו, אנחנו נשארים פה.

אחיי ואחיותיי, בני המשפחות השכולות, סיפורם של יקירינו אינו טמון רק במצבות האבן, הוא נטוע בלבבות עמנו. עלינו להמשיך את דרכם מאוחדים ומלוכדים. “ברזל בברזל יחד ואיש יחד פני רעהו”, נאמר בספר משלי. זהו סוד כוחה של ישראל. רק כאן מתחברים הרסיסים לדבר שלם.

אנחנו משפחה אחת, יהודים ואחינו הלא יהודים – דרוזים, מוסלמים, בדואים, נוצרים, צ’רקסים. אנחנו שותפים ברע ובטוב, ביגון ובשמחה. הערב, שכאורן של משואות העצמאות יבהיקו, כשאורן של משואות העצמאות יבהיק בפסגת ההר, נחוש הכרת תודה עמוקה ליקירינו גיבורי העם, חללי מערכות ישראל. נוקיר את הפצועים שבלמו בגופם מתקפות אויב, נישא תפילה להחלמתם. בו ברגע נבטא את הכרת הטוב על כל מה שזכינו לו, על פלא הקוממיות, על מתנת החירות, על נס ההתחדשות.

יהי זכרם של הנופלים ברוך לעד וחייהם קשורים בנצח ישראל.”

 

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 5, 2014: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Yom HaZikaron Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl

Source: PMO, 5-5-14
יום שני ה’ אייר תשע”ד

Photo by GPO

-Translation-

Distinguished guests, my brothers and sisters in the families of the bereaved,

Yesterday at the Yad Labanim memorial ceremony held here in Jerusalem, I heard the remarks of a bereaved mother named Idit Shema, who spoke of her inability to explain the depth of her pain to anyone who had not experienced such grief. I told her, “Idit, it may very well be that you are correct, that it is very difficult and perhaps impossible for anyone who has not experienced such grief firsthand to fully internalize the meaning of grief, the magnitude of the grief we experience, the tremendous shock that gripped us, the sense of loss, of missed opportunities, that fills us”.

On that same terrible day when the graves of our loved ones gaped open in front of us, there we sat, there we wept remembering our sons and brothers who fell for Zion. We feel the grief of the widows, of the orphans, of the siblings, and there is no pain worse than that of parents who learn of their children’s death. The blow when they hear the bitter news, like the cutting of flesh, cuts mercilessly into their consciousness, it shatters routine and it does not let up, day or night. It is endless suffering.

I saw this firsthand when my parents were thrown in the dark pit of grief after my eldest brother fell. It is a deep pit with slick walls, difficult to climb out of, and in a certain sense they never climbed out of it. However, one can deal with the grief, go on, reintegrate into the flow of life, one can create and build and contribute and strengthen others, but never forgetting, always remembering – but also taking comfort in knowing that our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, all gave their lives to build our country and aid its survival.

The fallen came from every part of the country, from every sector of the population, from every walk of life – Jews and non-Jews, Druze, Christians, Bedouin, Circassian – and all Israel’s citizens appreciate their sacrifice which allows us to live here, to live in an independent country that is so proud of its citizens, in a country that is a national home for our people.

It is true that in generations before the establishment of the state, in the years of exile, our blood spilt in a tremendous wave, but the horrific pain then was often boundless, without purpose and almost always without a response, whereas here in Israel, the cure for this pain is understanding its purpose.

One mother, a Holocaust survivor who lost all her relatives to the crematoria, told me, “My son fell wearing a uniform, holding a weapon in defense of Israel”. Another woman told me, “My brother fell as an officer on a tank turret and was not led like a lamb to slaughter”. And indeed, the enormity of the change that took place in our people’s fate with the establishment of a military defense force in our country is clearer today than ever.

A short distance from here, several hundred kilometers north of Jerusalem, a horrible massacre is taking place, slaughter is taking place on a daily basis, and has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people who do not have the power to defend themselves. Does anyone have any doubt that this would have been our fate as well if it were not for the strength of the IDF and the courage of our fighters?

The IDF and the security forces are the only thing that differentiates the slaughter of our people in the past from our current situation. Israel is a strong country, a secure country that can defend itself against any threat and any harm. However, this security was bought at a cost too heavy to bear, with the loss of our loved ones. I said there is no greater pain than losing a son or daughter, but there is – when two children fall. This further blow, after you are certain the worst had already happened, doubles and triples the magnitude of the grief. It is inconceivable, but apparently it too can be dealt with.

Tonight, when the Independent Day celebrations begin, Miriam Peretz, a noble and courageous woman, will stand on this mountain and light a torch in honor of the State of Israel. Her two sons, Uriel and Eliraz, may their memories be blessed, both IDF officers, fell in defense of their homeland. Miriam is a symbol of the bravery of the people of Israel. She illuminates the world through her good works, by strengthening the other, by empowering the spirit. She and others like her, at all levels of society, spread light and hope. Where the darkness seems infinite, their giving is infinite.

“For there is hope for a tree: if it is felled it can still renew itself, and its branching will not cease”, it says in the Book of Job. Who knows better than I that there is no absolute cure for loss and pain: We know that this hole can never be filled, but despite this we find new strength within, and there is strength from without, from the embrace the entire nation gives us and our families, the family of bereavement, today and on others days.

On the Day of Remembrance and on Independence Day which follows, we feel part of one family, all of us together. At these moments the significance of the magnitude of the accomplishment in establishing the State of Israel, building and developing it, becomes clear. We all have the privilege to live in dedication to our country, something that previous generations could only dream of or perhaps simply imagine: An Israel that is democratic, free, advanced, vibrant and strong, an Israel that is a moral beacon, a country that desires peace, which successfully deals with the unceasing threats against its security, determined to withstand any test.
We once sang, “Here in the land yearned for by generations, all our hopes will be realized”. My friends, they are being realized: Thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to its fighters, thanks to those who have fallen, those who loved their country, defenders of their land, whose deaths allowed us to live and to renew our freedom.

On this day, with heads lowered but not bowed, with deep pain and pride, we all salute the fallen of Israel’s security forces, our brothers and sisters, heroes all.
May their memories be forever cherished.

Israel Brief April 15, 2013: Israel observes Memorial Day Yom Hazikaron with siren, ceremonies

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Israel observes Memorial Day with siren, ceremonies

Source: JTA, 4-15-13

More than 90 Israelis were killed over the last 12 months in attacks on the homeland, the Israeli government said as it marked Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 14, 2013: The Silence on Israel’s Memorial Day Yom Hazikaron

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The Silence on Israel’s Memorial Day

Source: The Jewish Press (blog), 4-14-13

Tonight, Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron, its annual Memorial Day, known officially as the Day of Remembrance for Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 14, 2013: Israel’s Memorial Day / Yom Hazikaron ceremonies begin

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Israel’s Memorial Day ceremonies begin

Source: UPI.com, 4-14-13

Israel observed its Memorial Day — Yom Hazikaron — Sunday with a ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other officials….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 13, 2013: Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron: Remembrance Meets Celebration in Israel

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Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron: Remembrance Meets Celebration in Israel

Source: Algemeiner, 4-13-13

Officially known as Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron takes place the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut, and the piercing siren brings the country to a complete standstill at 8 p.m….READ MORE

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

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

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

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

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

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

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