Sunday, April 18, 2010

Memorial Day In Israel..Yom HaZikaron

Today marks Yom Hazikaron, the day Israel mourns the soldiers who have fallen defending this small country from its genocidal foes.It's a day of utmost seriousness there. In all, 22,682 soldiers have fallen, an incredibly high price for such a small country. This year alone, 112 soldiers were added to the lists of the dead.

As with most Jewish observances, they start at sundown. Sirens wail, and Israelis no matter where they are or what they're doing stand at attention. Even cars on the busy roads pull over as the drivers exit their vehicles to stand for a minute and remember Israel's fallen heroes.

In a small country like Israel where most people serve in the military, and the Tzahal has love and respect from the people it defends as in few other countries, it's not only the family that mourns the fallen soldier. It's his comrades.

Often, people who have grown up together join up together, serve in the same unit and then continue to serve together yearly in reserve duty.They become an extended family, and the bonds go is their day to mourn and remember as well.

As sad as this day is, there is something else that needs to be mentioned.

The last time genocide was visited on the Jewish people,there was no IDF,no army to defend them, and with some honorable and heroic exceptions, the world essentially looked on and watched it happen. As heavy as the price has been, the fact that the IDF and a strong Israel exists is a guarantee that it will never happen again - not only in Israel but anywhere.

It was Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who said that to him, the holiest spot in Israel was not the Kotel but the small booth at Ben-Gurian Airport where a Jewish official stamped entry visas.

Unfortunately, there are a number of Jews,particularly here in America that fail to understand that connection.


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