America and Israel: Remembering Heroes Together

April 10, 2012 4:39 pm 0 comments

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz (center) at a ceremony in June, 2011. Photo: wiki commons.

Israeli casualties of major wars, military engagements, operations, and enemy terrorist attacks are remembered on Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s national remembrance day.

The memorial rolls include Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, airmen, and sailors; fallen members of the Mossad intelligence service, the Israel Police, the Border Police, the Israel Prisons Service, the Shin Bet Security services, and other (pre-state) Jewish Brigades and Legions; and contemporary heroes of the state and civilian terror victims.

In a small nation of a few million people, a relatively high percentage of Israelis have been killed, disabled, or wounded in seven major wars, varied conflicts, IDF military actions, and terror campaigns suffered by the civilian population.

The holiday opens with a sunset siren the preceding evening at 20:00 (8 p.m.). The siren is heard all over the country and lasts for one minute, during which Israelis stop activity and driving and stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect.

Many religious Jews say prayers for the souls of the fallen soldiers. The official ceremony to mark the day occurs at the Western Wall, and the flag of Israel is lowered to half-staff.

A two-minute siren is heard at 11 a.m. on the holiday. Many Israelis visit the resting places of loved ones and attend public and private ceremonies. The day officially draws to a close between 19:00 and 20:00 (7–8 p.m.) with the official ceremony of Israel Independence Day on Mount Herzl, when the flag of Israel is returned to full staff.

As the holiday closes, the mood brightens and Israelis celebrate their national Independence Day.   Scheduling Yom Hazikaron immediately prior to Yom Ha’atzmaut is intended to remind people of the price paid for independence by the sacrifice of patriots. This transition shows the importance of the day among Israelis, most who have served in the armed forces or have a connection with people who were killed during their military service.

For a tiny nation to suffer tens of thousands of deaths, wounds, and disabilities—and yet maintain its resolute defense posture and confidence in itself against a range of enemies—is impressive, even awe-inspiring.

This is worth respecting, and may inspire Americans as well to ponder how we commemorate our Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day holidays here in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Most Americans believe that we are fortunate to live in the United States. Millions more immigrants agree and vote with their feet—moving here every year, and all Americans are aware of our blessings, most formally celebrated on Thanksgiving Day.

May we Americans more formally honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives, or limbs, not only on our holidays, but also in our commitment to the families of the fallen, to the wounded warriors, and to the project of national security for which they dedicated their lives.

One ponders an American national moment of silence, or some act of unifying respect from sea to shining sea.

Israel has given the world many gifts of social and economic innovations. Israeli national respect for their remembered heroes and honored fellow citizens is another meaningful model for us all.

Larry Greenfield.Larry Greenfield is Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (www.jinsa.org).

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.