Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his “wholehearted” apologies Sunday night to the families of the fallen from the Yom Kippur War, after not one government minister appeared at the memorial ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery marking the war that began on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
“The government that sent our sons to this war should be expected to send a minister to the ceremony,” Eli Ben-Shalom, chairman of Yad L’Banim, said pointedly. (The organization works to help bereaved families.)
“I apologize for the fact that no government representatives attended the memorial service for fallen Yom Kippur War soldiers,” Netanyahu said. “This is a regrettable mistake and I apologize wholeheartedly to the bereaved families.
“I’ve instructed the Government Secretariat to ensure starting now that a government representative will be present at all ceremonies for Israel’s fallen soldiers. This is a duty of unsurpassed magnitude to our loved ones who fell in battle so that we may live.”
President Reuven Rivlin – who called the war the “bitter, beautiful time of the army of the people” — and MK Hilik Bar of the Zionist Union party attended as representatives of the state, as families and friends of the fallen marked the event. Supreme Court Justice David Mintz and GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir were also in attendance.