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Israel honours the victims of 9/11

  • 911
On a quiet hill in the Azarim Valley in Ramot, Jerusalem, a memorial honours those who perished in the 9/11 Twin Towers terror attacks in New York that claimed almost 3 000 American lives.
by Rolene Marks - Rolene Marks is a passionate Israel advocate, writer and blogger. | Sep 14, 2016

Known as the “Living Memorial to the victims of 9/11” this nine metre-tall cenotaph, shaped like a waving American flag that morphs into a flame, is the only monument to those who died that exists outside of the US. 

The names of all who perished on that tragic day are inscribed, including those of five Israelis; a piece of melted metal from the ruins of the Twin Towers forms part of the base on which the cenotaph stands.

The cenotaph was designed by award-winning artist Eliezer Weishoff and was commissioned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF/KKL). It bears solemn witness to a day that changed the world and brought the threat of international terror into everyone’s collective conscience. It was a day that will forever live in infamy.

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Israel commemorates 9/11 every year with a ceremony at the memorial. This year was particularly poignant, marking 15 years.

Israelis understand terror all too well. We have endured being the targets of terrorists ever since the modern state was formed. The United States is our greatest ally and apart from sharing the many mutual values that are the hallmarks of our democracies, we also share a common sense of grief for the victims of the worst terror attack in modern history.

We understand that in a short moment in time lives can be lost, our loved ones ripped from the bosoms of their families, our sense of safety and security that we take for granted, completely altered. Reality as we know it can be changed forever in the blink of an eye.

We understand the pervasive sense of fear and worry. We understand the painful sacrifice that is needed when we have to send our sons and daughters into battle.

The first victim of 9/11 was Israeli. Daniel Lewin z”l, made aliyah as a teen and served in Israel’s special forces. An outstanding student who excelled at university, both at MIT and Haifa Technion, Lewin went on to co-found hi-tech giant Akamai, which helped revolutionise the way that we connect to the Internet.  He was described by his friend Micah as having the potential to be a future prime minister. He is but one story out of nearly 3 000.

The United and Israel are two nations united in grief. But grief does not define who we are. While we pause to reflect and remember, we also take the time to celebrate those we lost.

The mastermind of the attacks, arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, once told a journalist that the fundamental difference between us and them was that they welcome death and that we value life above all.

This is perhaps the only statement that one could ever agree to with a terror mastermind. We may have been bowed but never broken. We will honour their lives by our continued daily efforts to be living memorials.

May the memories of all who perished on September 11, 2001 be blessed.

1 Comment

  1. 1 nat cheiman 18 Sep
    No arab or muslim country has a memorial honouring 9/11 victims. There main focus is the hatred of Israel 

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