Today, Israelis mourned the loss of 22,993 soldiers and victims of terrorism who gave the ultimate sacrifice, marking the beginning of Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. This day is not that different than our stateside Memorial Day.
Israeli President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz spoke to mourners Tuesday night who gathered at the ceremony held at the Western Wall. Peres offered heartfelt words to the attendees by stating the country’s amazing achievements were the result of personal sacrifices. Gantz stressed the importance of standing united, and refusing to live under constant threat. He spoke of the changing Middle East and the new challenges it brings to Israel.
Peres offered families of mourners:
“Your sons and daughters will not return to you…. Their bravery has left us alive, but their deaths have left us broken.”
A two minute siren sounded at 11 am, and ceremonies took place at an additional 44 ceremonies throughout the country. In the past year alone, 126 soldiers and security personnel lost their lives defending Israel’s citizens, borders and sovereignty. Among that, 10,524 bereaved families live in Israel including 2,396 orphans and 4,992 widows.
One fact that seems to be disregarded by Israel’s detractors worldwide is that Israel remains the only true democracy in the Middle East, and it needs our support. I call on all pro-American and pro-Israel advocates around the world to never forget the service of the brave men and women who lost their lives residing in and protecting Israel. With the increased threat brought on by the Arab Spring, fall, winter, spring and nearly summer again, it’s time we step up and act for the only Jewish state on the planet. Visit Act For Israel and let us know how you can help Israel overcome its unique challenges.