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...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.