The view from my veranda

From Memorial to Independence


Sunday 18th April 2010.

Zikaron and Atzma’ut – Memorial and Independence

This evening life changes in Israel. Shops, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed and at 20:00 (8pm) precisely the siren wails to call a nation to remember. The television airs stories of families who have lost their children, of children who lost their fathers and lives ever changed. We show the faces of each and every one of those who were lost before and after Independence. Tomorrow at 11:00 the siren will again sound – to remember. A total of 22,682 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860, the year that the first brave Jews left the secure walls of the Old City of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.

The fourth of Iyar, the day preceding Israel’s Independence Day, was declared by the Israeli Knesset as Israel’s Remembrance Day for those who lost their lives in the establishment of the State of Israel, military personnel killed while on active duty in the IDF and those who lost their lives to enemy terror. The flow of the two days conveys a simple message: Israel owes her independence and her very existence to the people who sacrificed their lives.

ראש הטופס

תחתית הטופס

Memorial Service for Members of the Israel Defense Forces

El Maaleh Rachamim – G-d of infinite compassion at the Kotel

“O God, full of mercy, Who dwells on high, grant proper rest in the wings of the Divine Presence in the lofty level of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament for the souls of the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces who met their deaths in the wars of Israel, in action of defense, retaliation and security, while fulfilling their missions and during their service, and to the souls of all the fighters of the underground organizations and the fighting units in the nations battles, and all the men and women of the intelligence community and the security and police forces who gave their lives in the sanctification of Gods Name and, with the help of the God of the armies of Israel, brought about the rebirth of the nation and the state and the redemption of the Land and the City of God, as well as all those who were murdered, in Israel and abroad, by murderers of the terrorist organizations, by virtue of our prayers for the ascent of their souls. May the Merciful One therefore shelter them in the shelter of his wings for eternity; and may He bind their souls in the Bond of Life. The Lord is their heritage, Eden their place of rest. May they repose in peace in their resting places, may their merit reflect on all of Israel, and may they meet their destiny in the End of Days. Now let us respond: Amen.”

The siren call in Jerusalem

Brothers in Arms a tribute to the IDF

In a uniquely Israeli form of schizophrenia, as dusk falls tomorrow the last sounds of yizkor (prayer for the fallen) are followed by changing of the guard on Mount Herzl and the country’s attention follows the mourners from the cemetery on Mount Herzl to Herzl’s Tomb and Israel’s 62nd birthday party begins! 12 people, symbolising the 12 tribes of Israel, are chosen to light torches and swear allegiance to the State of Israel.

Dancing, singing, fireworks and a military tattoo take the place of somber prayer. We cannot afford to wallow in our sadness – life must go on. We have a brilliant country to celebrate – thanks to those who gave their lives so we could have a party. Those who wallow in their past sadness never step out of the mire – we must, we have and we will.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Israel’s statistics 2010

In this video of the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations 2 years ago – watch the army band as it marches in formation – the formation is the word Shalom – peace – in Hebrew. The IDF – an army for peace.

Chag Atzma’ut Sameach