The state memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers of the IDF began today at 11 am with a siren heard throughout the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “We are forced to talk about our loved ones in the past tense.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at state Yom Hazikaron ceremony Photo credit: Gil Yochanan/ Channel 2 News
The official memorial ceremony to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers was held on Mount Herzl on Monday morning. The ceremony began at 11 am with the two-minute-long siren that rang throughout Israel. After the siren, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his remarks and said that “heroism is a necessary condition for our existence and also for peace.”
Speaking to families of the fallen, Netanyahu said that “we, the bereaved families, are forced to talk about our loved ones in the past tense, as am I. It is an unbearably difficult task because the wounds of the past and the loss are never cured, not really.”
Preparation for the ceremony Photo credit: Channel 2 News
Also in attendance were President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor. During the ceremony, the memorial torch was lit by Pnina Sror, the daughter of Private Pinchas Sror, who fell during the Kadesh Operation in 1956 at the age of 32. After that, the Yizkor prayer was recited.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks at Kiryat Shaul military cemetery Photo credit: Ariel Charmoni, Defense Ministry/ Channel 2 News
Uzi Kirma, the father of Sergeant Major Yossi Kirma, who was murdered in the October 2016 terror attack, read the Kaddish prayer and the Chief Cantor of the IDF Lieutenant Colonel Shai Abramson recited the El Maleh Rahamim prayer.
Towards the end of the ceremony, memorial wreaths were laid on behalf of the State of Israel, the government, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the IDF, the Israel Police, the Yad LaBanim organization, the Widows and Orphans of the IDF Organization, the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization and the Jerusalem Municipality.
At the same time, a ceremony was held at the military cemetery in Kiryat Shaul. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke and said that “the State of Israel was established 69 years ago, built upon the desires and dreams of generations of Jews for thousands of years.” He continued: “The State of Israel was born and rose from the battlefield. 69 years have passed since then and we still cannot rest. It is a war that never seems to end.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke. “We pay a high price to live in our country,” he said. “You feel it every morning, every night, every holiday and every Yom Hazikaron. But when the people of Israel were not here, we paid a much higher price.”