As we do every year, Israelis on Wednesday made the incredible transition from deep mourning to bounding joy as we first marked the Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism before moving immediately into Independence Day.
Nationwide sirens on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning brought Israel to a standstill to remember 23,320 fallen soldiers and victims of anti-Israel terrorism. Both sirens were followed by national and private Memorial Day ceremonies at cemeteries and war memorials across the country.
Nearly every Israeli has lost a family member or friend to war or terrorism, meaning that for nearly every Israeli, Memorial Day is a very solemn time.
One interesting aspect of Israel’s Memorial Day that is today lacking even in many Christian nations is the liberal referencing of God and biblical faith by the nation’s leaders. As an example, the following prayer was posted to Facebook by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
May God remember the souls of His heroic children: The fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who fell in the wars of Israel, in defensive, retaliative, and security actions and during the fulfillment of their duty, including the souls of the underground fighters and brigades who fought in the national struggle – all those who sacrificed their lives for the sanctification of God’s Name.
And with the help of God, the Lord of Israel’s campaigns, they brought about the revival of the nation and the state and the redemption of the land and the city of God.
They were quicker than eagles and stronger than lions as they volunteered to assist the nation, and they saturated our holy land with their pure blood.
The memory of their self-sacrifice and heroic deeds will never disappear from us. May their souls be bound in the Bond of Life with the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with the souls of the other heroes and martyrs of Israel who are in Heaven.
At sunset on Wednesday (remember that in Jewish tradition, days start at sunset), our mourning was turned to sudden joy as we burst into celebration over what the sacrifices of our loved ones have purchased – a safe and secure Jewish homeland after millennia of exile and persecution.
PHOTO: From the Facebook page of the Israel Defense Forces