More

Not Just Names

Tags: Soldiers and Defense, Yom HaZikaron, Memory, Terror

Not Just Names: Remembering Israel's Fallen

Israel is our ancestral homeland, the birthright of the Jewish people. The religious believe that Israel was granted by God. Others focus on the Jewish people’s legal rights to the land and the reaffirmation of such by the League of Nations and in 1948, the United Nations.

No matter what your perspective, it is clear to all that without Israel’s soldiers, the country would not, could not exist.

The day after the Declaration of Independence Israel was at war with enemies who wished to eliminate her entirely. In the following seven decades Israel has been forced to defend herself in numerous wars and military operations. Each entered into reluctantly, in self-defense, each won – because Israel must win or be exterminated.

Everything Israel is, everything Israel has achieved, was made possible by her defenders. The soldiers of Israel are her sons and daughters, fathers and friends. They are our family. We love them and honor them for protecting us, serving us.

The soldiers who were killed defending our land have a special place in our hearts, as do their families and friends who had to go on living without their loved ones. This is a gaping wound that does not heal, a pain one gets used to bearing but one that does not go away.

On Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day for IDF soldiers and victims of terrorism, the State of Israel stops to remember, mourn for the dead and honor their legacy. The juxtaposition of Yom Hazikaron directly followed by Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day is a gut-wrenching reminder that without the first, we would not have the second.

It is important to take the time to remember and honor those who lost their lives defending Israel. At the same time, it is critical to note that we are not marking names or numbers. This is not about statistics, this is about people. This is about family.

The goal of the Israel Forever Not Just Names initiative is to serve as a reminder that each soldier or person murdered in a terror attack is a world: a child, a grandchild, a brother, a sister, a friend, a partner, a spouse, a parent. We grieve for their loss but also for the suffering of those left behind – bereaved families, orphaned children, friends, those who witnessed the death but survived, those who bear the physical and emotional scars of the loss.

The pain of the bereaved does not end when Yom Hazikaron ends. At the same time, Israel is a land of hope and joy. We honor those who died so that we could live by living well, and by helping others to do the same.

The Not Just Names initiative highlights ways we can remember and honor those who sacrificed to keep Israel safe and ways we can continue their legacy.

Tags: Soldiers and Defense, Yom HaZikaron, Memory, Terror