Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Food Jewish Identity Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    JNS.org – Several Viennese Jews have made a lasting impact on the world. Sigmund Freud’s investigations changed the face of modern psychology. Composer Arnold Schoenberg’s innovations in atonal music changed the face of music. These days, even more Jews — in particular, Israeli Jews — are changing the face of Vienna’s culinary scene with innovations in…the art of the pita. Freudians may find a psychoanalytic motive for the local appeal of the Israeli eateries popping up in the Austrian capital. Walk […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    The two bullet casings are already beginning to rust. Sheikh Nasser Pasha plucks them from the ground. “Look, one is from an AK-47, one from an American M-4.” The casings are strewn on the ground atop a long mound of dirt with a few bits of white sticks on it. It would appear unremarkable if one were walking by it. A closer look, however, reveals the white objects are pieces of human bone: arms, legs, and a single human skull. […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →