President Yitzhak Herzog and his wife Michal hosted about 50 Bat Mitzvah girls and Bar Mitzvah boys who have suffered as victims of hostilities at a gala event at the President’s Residence.
This year, the event was moderated by Gal Gvaram and featured singer Dudu Aharon. The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs, Meir Cohen, the chairman of the Organization of Hostile Actions Casualties, Ivy Mozes, and the director general of the National Insurance Institute, Meir Spiegel. The Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations have been held by the Organization of Hostile Actions Casualties for 19 years.
President Herzog gave the opening remarks and said, “In the lives of each and every one of us there are significant moments, ones that can change the course of our lives, ones that can also shape an identity. A Bat or Bar Mitzvah is just such a moment – a moment of joining the community, a moment of moving from childhood to adulthood, a moment of taking responsibility, and most of all a moment when the strength of the family is expressed.”
The president went on to address the celebrants saying, “Each and every one of you has had one or more moments like this. A scarring moment in which the trajectory of your life changed abruptly, and without your asking, you entered the world in pain, for you and for your loved ones, a world with constant moments of difficulty and challenge, nothing less than this – a world of discovery of powers and mental strengths. And just like the rehabilitation you’ve been through and are going through with true bravery, and that your family has gone through, so is the stage of adolescence that you are now entering. It’s a process.”
In August 2018, Yair was playing on the playground in the city of Sderot where he lived, when a rocket fell. Yair experienced severe trauma and was recognized as a casualty of hostilities. Yair, who was in attendance said that “Since that time my life has changed from being a normal kid who wants to go out and play to being afraid to go outside and spending most of my time at home. Similar noises make me nervous and frighten me into thinking that everything will come back. Reaching Bar Mitzvah age means joining and becoming another link in the amazing chain called the People of Israel. We will not be defeated, and this event is an expression of our strength and ability to deal with anxiety and fear.”
Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs, Meir Cohen added, “I thank President Yitzhak Herzog and his wife for their invitation to this exciting event. I am very happy to be here today with those celebrating their Bat and Bar Mitzvahs, and their families, to be able to share in this significant moment in their lives. I find it a pleasant duty to welcome you all into a life full of happiness and of course self-fulfillment.”
Chairman of the Organization of Hostile Actions Casualties, Ivy Mozes commented that, “In these days of another wave of terror attacks on the citizens of the state, the event here at the President’s Residence and the joy of those celebrating their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs is a testament to Israel’s victory over terrorism. My only request is for the State of Israel to embrace and support the bereaved and wounded families, even as the headlines change, for those like me know that the wounds of terror never do.”