The view from my veranda

150422 From Remembrance to Independence

  •                                                                             22 April 2015 = 3rd of Iyyar, 5775
  • ג׳ בְּאִיָּר תשע״ה
Today is Israel Remembrance Day. Today we mourn the loss of all those who died in battle and in terror attacks, today we honour their families.
Shops and restaurants closed from dusk last night. At 20:00 the first siren wailed for one minutes silence as Israel stood to attention and families attended ceremonies in their home towns or at the Western Wall. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows all to well the sense of loss, he himself is “Ach Shakul” a bereaved brother, his brother Yonatan was killed in the heroic rescue mission of Entebbe. Here in Israel loss of son, father, sister, mother is close. In this tiny country every one knows someone who lost a child, or we have a child who saw friends killed in war.
The dreaded words, the families have been informed,
Since last night the faces and names of those who fell are a constant on Israeli television, one after another, after another, to beautiful Israeli songs. Children in schools hold ceremonies, again singing Israeli songs and all of those songs, ALL of those songs express a desire for peace, never a desire for revenge. As todays siren wailed for a full two minutes, cars, buses and trucks stop on the highway or byway, those inside stepping outside to stand to attention.
It is in stark contrast to our every day life. I have written more than once that our life is schizophrenic – but in the most positive manner. We know that we have enemies, deadly enemies, but we live life to the very utmost.
My favourite Israeli song teaches us that life is honey and sting, the good outweighing the bad – because with all this, we have a beautiful country.
The epitome of Israeli Schizophrenia is displayed this evening. After a day of solemn ceremony and families visiting the graves of their beloved fallen Israelis gather at Mount Herzl for the end of sadness and hope for the future. The speeches end, the guard changes in military exactness, then – then come the torch-lighting, music and dance as we flawlessly flow from pain to joy. This years torch-lighters come from all areas of society. From Danny Gold, the inventor of Iron Dome defence system which saved so many lives during the last Gaza war, to the first woman pilot; from medical scientists to young entrepreneurs; from lyricist to everyones favourite, Rami Levi who introduced inexpensive basic foods for all in his supermarket chain. Israeli society is truly represented
As I travelled the length and breadth of Israel this week with dear friends, I was yet again reminded what a joyful life we lead. Incredible agriculture, exquisite countryside, glorious vistas, amazing forests planted to ensure future fertile lands and antiquities ad infinitum. Our friends were amazed at the plethora of Biblical history, each step revealing another Holy Site.
So today we mourn and tonight we celebrate Israel’s 67th birthday. 67 years of phenomenal growth and achievement despite constant attempts to wipe us out.
We are strong because we remember history – we know that every Empire that tried to enslave us or destroy us is now history – they no longer exist and we not only survive, we thrive!
With love

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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