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 Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.