Remembrance is in the genetic code of the Jewish people. Without supervision and adherence to memory the sheep, the people of Israel, would never have survived the wolves and nations of the world. A Jewish proverb: Remembrance and commemoration determine who we are and our relationship with God. “I said to you in your blood live,” writes the prophet Ezekiel.
Without memory we would have no God, faith and everything that makes us who we are. Which is really more important, physical participation in God’s biblical legislation on Mount Sinai, or remembrance? Some of you will probably think that the opportunity to be at Mount Sinai is more important, but no, the memory is more important because it keeps the idea and the belief alive. What use is a live recording of God’s covenant on Mount Sinai if this sensation in the desert had not been reported for generations? Therefore, remembrance and commemoration play an important role in Israel’s life.
The memory of the fallen is a national and sacred mourning, which people abroad may not fully understand. Heroes fell not only during the founding of the state, but also in the last few months. That is why this commemoration day is so alive and emotional. What unites us in Israel is the uniform and the “People’s Army,” in which not only Jews, but also Christians, Muslims and Druze serve. Gentiles have also served in the army throughout Bible history, such as the Hittite commander Uriah in King David’s army.
So tonight at eight o’clock the sirens will wail across the country and the commemorations will begin. 24,213 Israelis, that is the number of dead since the return of the Jewish people. Last year, 59 casualties were added. In addition, according to government sources, the number of terrorist victims is 4,255 civilians, including 740 murdered children. That comes out to an average of about one dead Israeli for every day of Israel’s modern existence as a nation state. Blood. “Yes, I said to you, you shall live in your blood!”
“The Memorial Day of the fallen in Israel’s wars and the victims of the terrorist attacks belongs to all of us. It is a day of remembrance when contention must be silent and we must all make way for pain and remembrance. The holiness of the fallen and the respect we have for the bereaved unites us, at the graves of our loved ones who have fallen we are all brothers. We are all one people.” This appeal was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Galant and the opposition leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. And the letter ends like this: “In their death, the fallen commanded us to live, to love the land, the people, and man. Let us all preserve the sanctity of the commemoration of the fallen in Israel’s wars as well as the victims of the terrorist attacks. A ceasefire, at least for the memorial period. The blood of the fallen must not be desecrated because of the internal political conflict among the people. We all have to pull ourselves together.”
Zikaron – Remembrance – is a significant term in the Hebrew Bible and appears frequently in the love story between God and His people. “Moses said to the people: Remember this day, when you left Egypt, that the LORD took you out of there with a mighty hand: therefore you shall not eat anything leavened.” Passover. “Remember the Shabbat, that you keep it holy!” Joshua tells the people: “Remember the word that Moses the servant of God said to you: The LORD your God has given you rest and given you this land.”
But not only the people of Israel are called upon to commemorate experiences, but also God called upon Himself “to commemorate His covenant, which exists between Me and you and all living beings of all flesh, that henceforth the waters shall no longer become a deluge, which spoils all flesh. Therefore the bow shall be in the clouds, that I may look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of every flesh that is upon the earth.”
In this sense, the national memorial day of the fallen is sanctified in the country. Remembering all those who gave their lives in defense of Israel is like commemorating Shabbat. Starting tonight and throughout tomorrow, we all commemorate those who fell, each their relatives or comrades, who gave their lives for Israel’s freedom and existence. Israel’s existence is a miracle and we must not destroy this miracle because of internal political dispute.
We must look out for one another to preserve this miracle of Israel, especially on this day, for we are brothers and sisters. For this, according to Joshua, God “gave us rest.”
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