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October 3, 2014 5:36 pm

Israelis Mark Yom Kippur With Prayers for Peace and Life

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

The crowd gathering at the Kotel the night before Yom Kippur.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel after speaking to the international community at the United Nations this past week.

“I went out on a national mission on behalf of the citizens of Israel,” recounted Netanyahu. “I told our truth on the UN podium, at the White House and at other meetings that I held,” he said after landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday morning.

The prime minister also wished a “Gmar Hatima Tova to all the citizens of Israel,” the traditional blessing for the successful sealing in the “Book of Life” during the days leading up to Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people that entails praying and fasting.

During Netanayhu’s speech to the UN General Assembly, in which the prime minister recounted the dangers of militant Islam and a nuclear Iran, along with ISIS and Hamas’s caliphate ambitions, he also highlighted the 50 days of Gaza rocket fire on Israeli cities that ended just over six weeks ago.

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“For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel’s citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls -upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration,” said Netanyahu.

For Ilanit Swissa, a mother from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on the Gaza border, Yom Kippur is being marked by hopes for peace and quiet among residents of the secular kibbutz, which was under heavy rocket fire throughout the summer war. “We just hope that the calm will continue,” she told Tazpit News Agency. “That there will no longer be any threats to us in the coming year and that we will all be able to live on our border with Gaza in peace,” she said.

“We think of our reality today in a different way because of the recent war,” Yogev Trabelsy, a father of three from Sderot told Tazpit. “The meaning of Yom Kippur takes on an added significance when we think of all the rockets that were fired and the people who were saved by miracles this summer.”

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