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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

For These We Weep

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I have been searching for the answer to this question…who did they kill…those 104 we are about to release? I know of a mother and her three children; I know of a grandfather stabbed in the back. I don’t know all the names but it is for these we weep today – once killed by Palestinian terrorists, today betrayed again by the government and the justice system in Israel.

Today, for these we weep…knowing that tomorrow…there will be…there will be…others.I got this on Facebook with the following note:

Look Into These Eyes….Men, Women, Parents, Grandparents, Children, Grandchildren, Infants, Soldiers, Asheknazi, Sefardic, Jews and Non Jews, Religious and Secular.

These precious faces haven’t smiled since vicious murderers stabbed, shot, kidnapped and murdered them. The Government has just agreed to release the spineless animals who murdered the people you are looking at. The Israeli Government did this as a prerequisite to have the ‘privilege’ to sit and discuss ‘peace’ with a people who continues to call for our destruction.

Who could demand such an insane request from us? I don’t forget all the good America has done for me and my people, but today… today is a brand new day. Yesterday doesn’t exist and tomorrow isn’t here yet. Today I live in a country that feels humiliated, confused and betrayed.

Look into their eyes… and imagine the agony of those who love them still and forever…

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Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Weiner Misses Queens Memorial Day Parade to Speak at Church

Monday, May 27th, 2013

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner passed up the annual Memorial Day parade in his former Queens district on Sunday in order to speak at a half-empty church.

“I was, like, ‘Where’s Weiner?!’” Forest Hills resident Frankie Esposito told the New York Post.  “I figured he’d come out to see his constituents. I don’t know if I support him as mayor. Taking a shot of his package and sending it out is questionable judgment for a public figure.”

While mayoral candidate Christine Quinn basked in the limelight along with Queens residents who were marching in the parade, Weiner was preaching, or more accurately, confessing in church. He spokes about his sexting scandal at a half-empty church in St. Albans, Queens, where he told 35 listeners, “I’ve made mistakes and done things that might make people say, ‘You know what? I will never trust that guy again. I will never vote for him in 100 years.’ And I get that, too. But in the course of the last two years, I’ve had some incredible blessings.” He cited his forgiving wife and his 17-month-old child who he said “doesn’t care much about the stuff that I’ve been through.”

Texas Official Cites Jewish Chaplain’s WW II Dedication

Monday, May 27th, 2013

A Texas state official spoke at a Memorial Day service and quoted a Jewish chaplain’s dedication of a temporary cemetery on Iwo Jima in World War II.

Jerry Patterson, the state’s Land Commissioner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor, said that whenever he speaks at a Memorial Day service, he quotes Lt. Roland B Gittlesohn, a Jewish chaplain who spokes on March 21, 1945 at the dedication of a temporary cemetery on the island of Iwo Jima for Marine and Navy personnel killed during that battle.

“Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores,” the chaplain was quoted as saying.

“Here lie officers and men, blacks and whites, rich men and poor — together. Here are Protestants, Catholics and Jews — together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many are allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination.

“No prejudices. No hatred.

“Theirs is the highest and purest democracy.”

As Israelis Mourn the Dead, Jordanians Glorify Killer

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Israelis just transitioned from their annual day of remembrance to the day they celebrate their independence. But even in celebrating 65 years of statehood, Israel never forgets the sacrifices it has made over the course of its existence.

As Israelis mourn the 23,000 soldiers and defense personnel who have been killed in the course of defending the Jewish state against aggression and terrorism, Jordanian leaders (not including the king, at least thus far) are making a hero out of a Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli school girls and wounded six others during a peace program in 1997. Ahmed Daqamseh, who expressed pride in his mass murder, was convicted of these crimes but spared the death penalty, despite the fact that Jordan executes large numbers of criminals for relatively trivial offenses.

Now after serving approximately two years for each of the murders, he is seeking his release and he has the support of a large majority of Jordanian parliamentarians, who regard him as a hero. The very word “hero” was used by the Jordanian justice minister in joining the chorus calling for his release.

Daqamseh’s mother has said, “I am proud of my son and I hold my head high. My son did a heroic deed and has pleased Allah and his own conscience. My son lifts my head and the head of the entire Arab and Islamic nation. I am proud of any Muslim who does what Ahmed did.”

Daqamseh himself has said, “I have no regrets.” He continued, “The only thing I am angry about is the gun, which did not work properly. Otherwise, I would have killed all of the [children].” He also said he would do it again if given the opportunity.

The 13 school girls who were shot by the Jordanian soldier were on a peace mission at a place ironically called The Island of Peace. It is the man who shot these 13 school girls, wishes he had killed more, and promises to do it again, who is being called a hero by Jordanian public officials. The silence of King Abdullah speaks loudly about the widespread popular support that exists for this mass murderer of Jewish children.

In justifying his support for Daqamseh’s release, the Justice Minister said, “If a Jew murdered Arabs, [the Israelis] build him a statue.” In fact precisely the opposite is true. When a Jewish extremist (not a soldier) murdered Arabs at prayer, the Israeli government not only did not build him a statue, it forbade any statue from being built by private sources and has demonized the killer (who was himself killed), as a mass murderer deserving of no lionization.

Another indication of the widespread support is that 110 out of the 120 members of the lower house of Jordan’s parliament have called him a hero and demanded his release. They are seeking “freedom for the soldier hero” and saying “we are all Ahmed Daqamseh.” Leading this despicable effort to free a mass murderer is Ali Sneid, a man who claims to be of the left.

The effort to release Daqamseh has taken on elements of Islamic anti-Semitism by calling the continued imprisonment of this murderer “protection for the herds of the brothers of apes and pigs” and calling the victims of this mass murder by other anti-Semitic terms.

Nor is this hatred of Jews and the Jewish state by Jordanians limited to this particular case, despicable as that would be. Among grassroots Jordanians, particularly those of Palestinian background, there is widespread hatred of all things Jewish, Israeli and even American. Islamic extremism is rampant in parts of Jordan, though suppressed by its king and his dictatorial minions. Jordan is ripe for yet another Arab Spring turned winter. All that stands between the current monarchy and an Islamic upheaval is massive American financial and military support for its charming king.

King Abdullah presents a far more beneficent face of despotism than did any of the other Arab despots who were toppled, or are in the process of being toppled, by the Arab Spring turned Islamic extremist winter. How long this situation will last is anyone’s guess. But the possibility that before long Israel may have a neighbor to the east who is not as peaceful as the current Jordanian government, must be seriously considered.

The Only Truth

Monday, April 15th, 2013

It’s rather ironic that although my written Hebrew is awful, I see, hear and think about Hebrew linguistics a lot.  Most people are rather surprised at my grasp of Hebrew linguistics and the meanings I find in words.

The word אמת  emmet, truth, written without Hebrew vowels, can mean something which really is true:t That אמות amute I will die.  The actual Hebrew root for die is מ ו ת which has a “ו” but the “ו” is dropped in some of the conjugations of the verb, such as past tense.  It’s ironic, but the only certainty in life is that we will one day die.

Why is death so on my mind today?  Because it’s Israel’s Soldiers and Terror Victims Memorial Day. After two totally mesmerizing moving ceremonies, last night and this morning, all I can do is think of the victims, those dead from Arab terror or war.

After seeing and hearing and talking to all the parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends (did I leave anyone out?) of the dead how can anything other than death be on my mind?

They may not be among the living, but they certainly cast a long shadow on us and our lives.

From the speeches, it was clear that time doesn’t heal the pain.  Everyone I spoke to afterwards agreed that each year it gets harder.  The mourning comes in waves.

From the comments on my post, One of The Very Best Things About Israel, I see that not everyone agrees with me that it’s good to combine Independence Day with Memorial Day.  I treasure the fact that I’m taking intense memories of the dead with me to the celebrations.  I don’t think it is good to just celebrate our independence.  It’s too much like those who think that all you have to do is “write a check” to buy something and don’t realize that the check must be covered by money in the bank.

It’s important to realize the cost of something, and that includes the State of Israel.  Our country isn’t just a money budget.  We’ve invested many lives in building it.

We are Jews, יהודים Yihudim. In the word יהודי yihudi Jew we can find the word להודות lihodote, to thank, and we must thank God and all of those who gave their lives for the defense of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

And tonight we will celebrate the God given victory…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

A Day of Agony

Monday, April 15th, 2013

I went last night, as I do almost every year, to our local ceremony remembering Israel’s fallen. I’ve lived in this city going on 12 years. Where at first I knew none of the names, there are now three that I recognize, families that I know.

Each year, I am grateful that there aren’t more; desperately, almost embarrassing grateful not to be sitting up in the front.

“Who is sitting there?” Shmulik asked me last night. He’s been to these ceremonies before, but never paid attention. That is where the mayor sits, his assistants and deputies. The chief rabbis of our city and others. But most significantly, this is where the bereaved families sit. They are separated by a low barrier so they won’t be bothered, so they can grieve a bit in private, as they sit among thousands who have come to honor them and the sons and daughters they have lost.

The ceremony begins just moments before 8:00 p.m. It is windy and cool this year; sometimes it is unbearably hot. The park, where tonight there will be singing and dancing and fireworks, was packed last night for the Memorial Day ceremony. It is a unique and amazing yearly event – to cry with all your heart one day and then smile and dance and be happy the next.

We sit there knowing we will dance tomorrow night, knowing these families will not.

Young teenagers walk onto the stage, each carrying large Israeli flags. They are divided into two lines, each moving to the side of the stage where they will remain throughout the ceremony. A man comes to the front; I don’t know his name but he has a beautiful, deep voice – he will lead the ceremony, introduce each of the speakers and singers.

He tells us in a moment, the siren will sound and asks us to stand. He asks the parents to watch over the children so that they don’t make noise and for other adults to watch if children here without parents are overly noisy. Then there is silence. Thousands are waiting for the siren. We wait …

It begins with a quiet wail, gaining and reaching the top. Unlike the real air raid siren, the sound does not go up and down – it is an endless cry that reaches into your heart and fills your eyes. They burn and you try to blink them away. I stand beside one son; another is at home with his wife. What right do I have to cry? God has blessed me – my sons are alive and safe.

The siren ends – not abruptly, but as it began, a slow decline to silence. The flag is lowered and we are asked to sit down again.

More teenagers come forward – there are four this time. The two in the middle begin a slow recitation of the names of those we have lost from our city – there are so many, too many. The father of the last to fall is asked to say the mourners prayer and the audience stands again and answers “Amen” at the appropriate times.

The mayor speaks; others as well. Songs – horribly sad songs of love of land and family, of country of life are sung. Your heart breaks and you want it to end. You want to go home and never come to another ceremony, knowing you will be there again next year, and the year after, and after that.

In all the years I have been in Israel, I have missed very few. Perhaps when my children were very young, or I was pregnant and sitting on a hard floor for an hour was torture. I know when Elie was in the army, I couldn’t go. I couldn’t sit there and listen and think. I was ashamed of my cowardice and begged the families to forgive me.

The first time I went was in Elie’s last year in the army – when he went with me. That, somehow, I managed to do. Last night, I sat next to Shmulik and as with Elie, his being there gave me comfort.

Memorial Day in Israel is as it should be – it is not a day of picnics and sales. It is not about barbecues and fun. It is agony; it is pain. It is tears and sad songs on the radio. It is a candle burning in my house in their memory, and it is the constant knowledge that without their sacrifice, we would not sing and dance tonight. We would not be free, here in our land.

May God bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and forever keep them in His heart, as they are in ours.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Counting and Remembering the ‘Dust of Jacob’

Monday, April 15th, 2013

“Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel.” Numbers 23:10

The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills, the traffic stopsthe people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country. Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking hands and the country’s own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror– Israel’s Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war and where remembrance means adding the toll of one year’s dead and wounded to the scales of history. A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob? And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village beneath the hills. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.

In this land, the Maker of Stars and Dust vowed to Abraham that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. In their darkest days, they would be as the dust. But there is mercy in the numberless count of the dust. Mercy in not being able to make a full count of the fallen. In remaining ignorant of that full measure of woe. Modern technologies permit us terrible estimates. Databanks store the names of millions, village by village and city by city. Terrible digital cemeteries of ghosts. But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it the dust that supports our feet, we stand upon the shoulders of giants. We walk in the dust of our ancestors.

Some new countries are built to escape from the past, but there is no escaping it in these ancient hills. IDF soldiers patrol over ground once contested by empires, tread over spearheads and the wheels of chariots buried deep in the earth. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came through here in all their glory. Greek and Roman soldiers and mercenaries pitted themselves against the handful of Judeans who came out of the Babylonian exile. The Ottoman and the Arab raged here, and Crusader battering rams and British Enfield rifles still echo in the quiet hills.

Here in the silence of remembrance the present is always the past and the sky hangs like a thin veil fluttering against the future. The believers cast their prayers out of their mouths against the veil. The soldiers cast their lives and their hearts. And still the future flutters on above, like the sky near enough to touch, but out of reach. Beneath it, the sky-blue flag, the stripe of the believer’s shawls adorned with the interlocked star of the House of David.

Amidst the Chaos, the IDF Preserves Israel’s Independence

Monday, April 15th, 2013

In today’s Middle East, radical forces, which thrive on chaos, are on the rise; and those who rule the Arab states are here today and gone tomorrow.

Independence Day in Israel, which this evening starts celebrations for the 65th year of Israel’s Independence, takes place deliberately right after Memorial Day, dedicated to honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers, so the Israeli public remains keenly aware that independence is possible only due to the sacrifices made by the fallen.

This year, however, looks set to be decisive – when the world finds out whether the international community’s policy of engaging Tehran diplomatically, while applying biting economic sanctions, will work or not. Should the policy fail, military action remains a serious possibility.

Since Israel’s founding in 1948, Israelis have sought peace and seized upon opportunities to make it when they arose, such as Israel’s return of the Sinai Peninsula in 1979 in exchange for peace with Egypt, as well as departure from Southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

“Despite everything,” said newly appointed Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, “despite so many elements that wanted to prevent this country’s founding, and who continue to invest so much every day to destroy us – they arise here in our intelligence assessments, Iran, Hezbollah — nevertheless, there is no doubt, that what stands between independence and a lack of independence is the shield of the IDF. ”

“We have the great privilege of defending Israel and protecting its independence,” Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Benny Gantz concurred this week at IDF General Headquarters in Tel Aviv. “I wish us a successful year of independence, in the face of the challenges that are emerging before us. I am sure we will know how to carry out our missions.”

While Ya’alon and Gantz have been studying the intelligence on the upheavals and multiple asymmetric threats developing on Israel’s borders, Iran and its nuclear program remain at the top of the security agenda.

Although a collapsing Syria no longer remains a conventional military threat to Israel — the Syrian army is engaged in fighting the rebels, while steadily losing its power — the crumbling Middle Eastern old order is allowing for a plethora of terrorist organizations to grow on Israel’s borders.

Hizballah, for example, an Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group, remains with its estimated 80,000 rockets – an unprecedented number of projectiles – pointed at Israel.

Should Hezbollah initiate a future round of hostilities, the IDF has prepared a large-scale ground operation into Lebanon, aimed at extinguishing rocket attacks on the Israeli home front.

The Israel Air Force has also been busy preparing surprises for future conflicts. New technologies allow fighter jets to strike as many as 1500 targets in 24 hours. Israel’s reply to Hizballah aggression would be devastating.

Both Iran and Hezbollah are in the process of setting up a militia in war-torn Syria. This militia, made up of 50,000 fighters, will remain active in Syria even if the Assad regime is toppled.

Also in Syria, Al-Qaeda is planning to raise the flag of radical Sunni Islam, as its Syrian and Iraqi forces announce a merger.

In Israel’s south, near the Gaza strip, the IDF is also closely monitoring Hamas, which, at least for the time being, has remained deterred by Israel. Next door, however, the Sinai Peninsula is filled with Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadi fighters, who are planning their next cross-border attack.

The IDF is closely studying this complex map of threats, and making sure it is ready for the future. Today, with Israel’s military is at its strongest, the country is capable of dealing with its highly chaotic and dangerous environment.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/amidst-the-chaos-the-idf-preserves-israels-independence/2013/04/15/

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