Israel Pauses to Remember its Fallen

Sirens were sounded throughout Israel at 8 PM on Sunday night and 11 AM this morning in Israel, in memory of the more than 25,000 fallen Israeli soldiers and terror victims. As the Jewish state ushered in Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, the nation, and indeed the Jewish world, paused to reflect on the cost of freedom.

In a solemn address during a national ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Monday, “We salute the fallen, our loved ones, the heroes of the State of Israel. May they rest in peace.”

As we reflect on the 92 names added to the list of fallen Israelis, and the overwhelming number of people who died in the name of Israel, we recognize the enormous sacrifices that so many in Israel make for the security and well-being of the Jewish state. Yet, we also recognize the overbearing cost of continued war. It is estimated that 1.5 million Israelis will visit cemeteries during Yom HaZikaron. Many are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends of the fallen, paying homage to the memories of the fallen. Their tombstones are testimony to the dire need for peace. They are citizens who died in the name of their country.

As we remember those who dedicated their lives to Israeli freedom, let us also include in our prayers and thoughts those victims who, although not Israeli, also sought peace. Let us pray that, in the names and spirit of those who have fallen through raging conflict, we may find the courage to pursue peace.

Image courtesy of Mark Neyman/GPO/Flash90