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Embassy of Israel hosts Yom Hazikaron ceremony

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A large crowd attended the Yom Hazikaron ceremony at the Embassy of Israel in Pretoria on Wednesday morning. Among them were Jewish leaders from around South Africa and bereaved family members.
by DIANE WOLFSON | Apr 19, 2018

Addressing families who had lost children or parents in Israel’s wars, Israeli ambassador Lior Keinan spoke emotionally at the very moment that a siren was heard across Israel, mourning the fallen soldiers and terror victims.

“Too many families have lost their loved ones, and their pain soars through Israel’s skies on this day, at the very moment of the siren, when we all stop to be together with the bereaved families. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, widows and orphans who lost that which was most precious to them so we can live in security, so we can be a free nation in our land,” said Keinan.

“Israel is a miracle; it is occurring right in front of us. But this miracle has a great and painful price – the young men and women that were here one moment, and gone the next. The young that have left behind unforgettable memories.

“It’s difficult not to wonder and imagine, if only for a moment, what we have lost even without us knowing – the doctors of the future, the scientists inventing the next big idea, authors and creative poets, wonderful parents to children that will never be born.”

Keinan said we owe all we have to those young soldiers. “We are here thanks to them and the families who lost their whole world in a moment. We mark this Day of Remembrance once a year, but the bereaved families carry the burden of loss with them every second.

“The 88 bereaved South African families, whose children volunteered to go to Israel, symbolise the unbreakable bond between the State of Israel and the wonderful Jewish community here. The Mahal (Israeli army) volunteers didn’t hesitate, and left their routines, their studies and their loved ones to protect Israel. Their rare bravery and unique love for the State of Israel will forever be remembered as the eternal bond between us continues to strengthen.”

In concluding, Keinan made a promise to the fallen soldiers and their families to would continue the will of those who are no longer with us – to build a safe, flourishing country that absorbs olim and gives equal opportunity to all of its citizens.

“We will continue to reach out our hands to peace with our neighbours, and not hesitate to protect our citizens. This is the way paved by those we have lost on this long road that we will keep walking. May their memory be a blessing.”

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