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July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mount Herzl’

Netanyahu: Israel ‘Adds Life’ on Remembrance Day

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu focused special attention in honoring the victims of terror Wednesday at Remembrance Day ceremonies at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery.

Joining the prime minister for the ceremony were President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Both lay wreaths for the victims of terror.

The designation is a relatively new addition to ceremonies that once were held to commemorate only the fallen among Israel’s soldiers. It was recognized, however, that those who die simply because they are citizens of the state are as worthy of being a “soldier of Israel” as any uniformed defender.

Bereaved Israelis flocked to the graves of fallen soldiers at the cemetery, paying their respects to troops killed in wars since 1860 as well as victims of terror.

Since the close of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, 2,538 have died in terrorist attacks – including 31 in the past year alone.

The hatred of terrorists “is blind; for them we are all targets,” the prime minister said in addressing participants. “While they try to take life, we add life.” He listed the attacks in the past year in which precious Jewish lives have been stolen and blood shed in the State of Israel by murderous terrorists.

There is no difference between IDF soldiers on the homefront or those in the field, civilians involved in their daily affairs or those serving their time in army reserves, he said.

All are targets.

But the prime minister also warned that the radical Islamist terror once believed to be exclusive to the Middle East has made its way abroad and now has spread to Europe.

Attacks against Jews in countries like France – where the week-long reign of terror in Paris horrified millions this past January and left more than a dozen people dead – are becoming more common. Four people died at the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery store during that massacre.

Such activity, said Netanyahu, perversely seems to draw the admiration of many of Israel’s neighbors, rather than disgust.

“They admire murderers,” the prime minister noted. “The more they murder, the more they admire them.”

For Israel to achieve peace with her neighbors, he said, they must “stop the incitement and the admiring of murderers. That’s not how you make peace.”

Israel’s Memorial Day

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

At 11:00 AM Wednesday morning, the 2-minute siren rang out throughout Israel in memory of Israel’s fallen.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Ruby Rivlin and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot were at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, while Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon presided at Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery.

Memorial Day began last night with a siren at 8pm and a ceremony at the Kotel.

23,320 Israelis have been killed in wars and terror attacks.

116 people were killed in the past year, including 67 soldiers and 5 civilians in Operation Protective Edge.

There are 535 soldiers whose burial place is unknown.

Over 270,000 virtual candles have been lit using and Israel Defense Ministry app.

Tonight, after sunset, Israel transitions into Independence Day.

A Private Memorial Day

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

An Israeli woman visits a relative’s grave on Mount Herzl on Tuesday, a few hours before Memorial Day begins, at which point the military cemetery will be full of family and friends of the deceased.

Netanyahu Blames Jerusalem Terror on Abbas Incitement, Islamic Radicalism

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today blamed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for the terror attack in Jerusalem that left one dead and more than a dozen injured.

Netanyahu placed responsibility for incitement that led to the attack by a Hamas operative who lived in Jerusalem’s northern neighborhood of Shuafat squarely with Abbas.

It was Abbas, he said, who was responsible for “the growing incitement” seen in recent days.

Abbas, “who sent a condolence letter to the family of [Yehudah] Glick’s [shooter] and who has tried to prevent Jews from going up to the Temple Mount.

“The vehicular terror attack today in Jerusalem is the direct result of incitement by Abu Mazen [Abbas] and his partner Hamas,” the prime minister stated flatly.

Netanyahu noted that the “rising tide of Islamic extremism and radicalism that is sweeping all across the Middle East and beyond” was affecting Israel’s Arab population as well – and would cost the Jewish State. But although he acknowledged that Israeli is in “a prolonged battle for Jerusalem,” as he politely phrased it, he added, “I have no doubt that we will win it. We are employing all the necessary powers to restore quiet and security to the city.

“True peace will come when the squares in Ramallah and Gaza will be filled with demonstrators calling for a halt to terrorism. Peace will come when Iran will stop calling ‘death to Israel’ and when Abu Mazen no longer says that Jews are defiled and stops embracing their killers,” Netanyahu said.

But until then, “There has been no change in Palestinian society toward acceptance of the Jewish people’s right to its own state.”

The Papal Visit: Heavy On Hoopla, Short On Substance

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

At the end of the day, the pope’s Mideast visit was short on substance and long on theatrics – unless one considers, and with some justification, that theatrics is substance in the thinking of many.

The pope has influence but not power (still lacking the military prowess to enforce his will, to paraphrase Stalin), but even his influence is limited. As his public appearances in Israel were limited to select audiences, and naturally heavily weighted to visiting official or Christian sites, the impact to the average citizen was mainly in the form of snarled traffic and closed roads, all due to the intense security generated by his brief stay.

Of course, the visit – simply by virtue of the fact that it took place – was not innocuous, and these celebrity summits always carry the potential for more mischief for Israel than for any meaningful achievements. And so it was here, aided by an exasperating moral equivalence that is the pope’s (perhaps any pope’s) stock-in-trade.

Anything that presents the Palestinian Authority in the guise of a state, or even as a reasonable interlocutor, hurts Israel. Worse, the pope’s brief stop – for prayer – at the border wall that surrounds Bethlehem played into the Arab narrative as victims of an oppressive Israel.

Certainly, Israel’s countermove by having Pope Francis make a similar stop at the terror victim’s memorial at Mount Herzl Cemetery was a brilliant stroke. But it didn’t quite erase the moral obtuseness implicit in lamenting a barrier that has aided in the prevention of Arab suicide bombings of Jews.

And if the Arabs indeed seek an independent state, do not most states have borders with fences, walls and official crossings? Would the pope also lament the imposition on mankind of searches at airports, all because of the threat of Muslim terror?

There is a certain unwordliness that surrounds the pope’s pronouncements, but each call for a two-state solution is oblivious to the reality on the ground. Neither party wants two states, although Israel in its weakest and foolish moments would settle for two. But no one believes it would last, and so the call for the creation of a Palestinian state remains a codeword for the destruction of Israel, as it always has been.

Indeed, the greatest danger the pope faced during his visit was being inundated by the deluge of clichés and platitudes, much of his own making. The persistent desire to split the difference, to see everything in balance, and especially to never, ever distinguish between aggressors and victims does an injustice to Jews and to history.

It reminds me of an encounter I had many years ago as an attorney, representing a young woman expelled from her Catholic high school because an ex-boyfriend showed up at her school carrying a knife and up to no good. She was expelled because her mere presence brought the boy with the knife into the building, even though she didn’t invite him, didn’t want him there and was likely to be the target of his wrath.

When I said that she was the victim here and did nothing wrong, I was told by the chief nun: “Victim or aggressor, what’s the difference?” To which I responded: “If you do not distinguish between the victim and the aggressor, then that certainly explains a lot about our history.”

(By the way, my entreaties fell on deaf ears.)

The call for peace, an end to war, violence, unfriendliness and the like is always welcome but ultimately meaningless when confronted by an evil enemy that literally sacrifices its own children to murder other children.

The Palestinians, the Pope and Peace

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Middle East is fraught with political and religious symbolism and events on his itinerary are raising the temperatures on both sides of the Middle East divide.

In Israel, some are upset about the way the Vatican is treating his stops in the West Bank as if it is a state visit to a sovereign “State of Palestine” that, in fact, does not exist.

Others are upset about the Israeli government’s decision to allow Francis to celebrate a mass on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a site that Jews believe is the Tomb of King David and Christians think is the place where the Last Supper took place.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are up in arms over the fact that the Pope will visit Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery outside the capital and lay a wreath on the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. And therein hangs the tale not only of a pope caught in the middle of a bitter clash in which any seemingly innocuous gesture of good will can become a source of tension but the issue that lies at the very core of a century-long conflict.

The context of the papal visit is the desire of Francis, a man already renowned for his caring persona and a desire to create outreach with all peoples, to plant a flag of ecumenism in the midst of a steadily worsening environment for Christians in the Middle East.

The rise of Islamism has made the situation of all non-Muslim minorities in the region and none are in a more precarious situation than that of Palestinian Christians, who have left the administered territories in large numbers since the Oslo Accords that handed over effective control of these areas to the Palestinian Authority. But, instead, a bogus campaign of incitement has sought to convince the world that Israel, the one nation in the region where freedom of religion prevails is the problem for the Christians.

Nevertheless, tensions between Palestinian Arabs and Jews have at times bubbled over into religious tension. Far right extremist Jews appear to have been guilty of vandalism at some churches, a deplorable development that has generated international outrage that is notably missing when Jewish institutions are routinely given the same treatment by Arabs.

The dispute at Mount Zion is typical of the kind of disputes that develop at the holy places. The shrine there has been under Jewish control for decades. Indeed, prior to the unification of Jerusalem and the liberation of the Western Wall, it was considered by many to be the most sacred spot inside pre-1967 Israel. While the Israeli protests about the mass seem intolerant, they are generated by fears that the site will be handed over to the church which would compromise Jewish sovereignty over the capital as well as possibly infringe on Jewish worship there. The Israeli government is clearly opposed to such a transfer and if they allow Christians more access to the site for their worship, it is to be hoped that both sides will live and let live.

While Israelis would have preferred that the Vatican not jump the gun and recognize “Palestine” without the Arabs first being required to make peace. Such recognition lessens the pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith but there is little rancor over the pope’s desire to visit what is, for intents and purposes, a separate country in the West Bank. But the Herzl dispute is more serious than just another tit-for-tat argument.

In venting their anger about a wreath for Herzl, the Palestinians are once again demonstrating that their real problem with Israel isn’t West Bank settlements or where the border should be after a peace treaty. It is, instead, an argument about the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders wind up being drawn. Herzl, who died in 1904, isn’t connected in any way to the grievances Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders vent their spleen about. But he is, in no small measure, responsible for the birth of the movement responsible for the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty over the historic homeland of his people. If Palestinians have a problem with Herzl, it’s because they still can’t bring themselves to change a political culture that regards rejection of Zionism as integral to their identity as a people.

A Nation in Unity on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Israel’s flag is waving at half mast and the memory of 23,169 lost Israeli soldiers and victims of terror has quieted the nation on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.

No music plays in the neighborhoods, and children are not laughing today on the streets. A somber air is felt throughout the country as Israelis remember their fallen.

Some of those are not even Jewish. They are Bedouin or Druze or Circassians who have thrown in their lot with their Jewish neighbors. They, too, have paid the price.

Few indeed are those in this country who have not lost at least one family member in military action or terror, or are not close to someone who has, in the struggle to fulfill the mitzvah to hold this Holy Land, Eretz Tzion, Israel.

By age 16, all Jewish teens in Israel receive their first IDF notice, summoning them for exams to determine a medical, educational and psychological fitness profile. The IDF recently announced it will soon begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army as well.

By 18, most boys and girls in this country are smiling and nervously getting into fitted green or camel-colored uniforms, queuing up at central bus stations before and after Shabbat and talking about what happened in their new units “at the base.”

They’re babies, really — babies learning how to face killers; other babies fed on evil hatred since birth. Last year, 40 died, though some of those were reservists, IDF soldiers who return to serve 30 days a year to help the “newbies” and the career soldiers keep Israel safe from its enemies. “Reservists” can be soldiers in their 20s — or as old as 40.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to show those that haven’t experienced it the size of the grief that befell us, the intensity of the shock that grasps us, and the sense of loss that fills us,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained at Monday’s ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery, attended also by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and a host of other officials.

Paraphrasing and slightly changing a well-known Psalm of King David, he said, “There, we sat at the graves of our loved ones, and wept, and we remembered our loved ones that fell for the sake of Zion.”

Sweeping the entire People of Israel into unity with Israel’s grief over its fallen, the prime minister said, “On this day, the entire people relates to the heroes of the nation. They come from all parts of the nation and from all parts of society. The simple truth that is the most concise is this: we would not be here if it were not for their sacrifice.

“Even if it means unparalleled pain, a great miracle happened here. Israel returned to her country, to her home, established a state and did wonders, but at this moment we should not forget that it is a privilege to be here.”

People came to their feet across the country as a siren wailed into the skies at 11 o’clock in the morning, reminding Israelis of the price paid for peace, and Israel’s defense.

A candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall last night, announced by the nationwide siren at eight o’clock in the evening, also featured an address by President Peres.

“We, the Israelis, are not like every people,” the president pointed out. “Already for years a sad generation hasn’t relaxed, hasn’t been able to enjoy a time of happiness. Our joy is always missing. A cloud of sadness envelops us. It is deeply hidden, but one can see it in our eyes.”

The president spoke of parents who lost their children, “the image of the soldiers that fell in Israel’s wars… They did not have time to plant a tree. They didn’t taste the full flavor of love. They left behind you, the bereaved families… and us, the friends, to painfully remember.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/a-nation-in-unity-on-yom-hazikaron-israels-remembrance-day/2014/05/05/

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