Photo Credit: courtesy, United Hatzalah
United Hatzalah (illustrative)

On Israel’s upcoming Yom HaZikaron — known also as Israel’s Memorial Day, or Remembrance Day — United Hatzalah of Israel has announced it will send its volunteers to the graves of IDF soldiers whose families cannot attend in person due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The volunteers will recite Kaddish and light a candle near the grave on behalf of their families, and will also film the proceedings and send the recording back to the family and friends of the fallen soldier.

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The initiative is being undertaken in full cooperation with and permission from Israel Police, and will be carried out for any family of a fallen soldier who requests the assistance of the organization due to their inability to be present at the grave of their fallen loved one in person.

The initiative, which is being called “1221 Remembering One and All” was created by two United Hatzalah volunteers who met during their EMT training course, Etti Peretz from Beit Shemesh and Orli Masad from Ben Shemen. Orli is the widow of Tamir Masad, one of three IDF soldiers killed in a suicide bombing at the Sonol gas station at the entrance to Ariel in Samaria while trying to prevent the terrorist from detonating the bomb. Masad had served in the Golani Commando Unit and was among the soldiers stationed at Beaufort in the First Lebanon War.

The friendship of Eti and Orli, one of whom is religiously observant, the other a secular Moshavnikit, represents the unity and spirit of volunteerism that brings together the more than 6,000 volunteers who make up United Hatzalah.

Bereaved families who are unable to visit the graves of their loved ones, and who are interested in this help, are invited to fill out a form on the specially created website of www.1221.org.il/remember anytime from now until Monday and request that United Hatzalah’s volunteers will visit the grave, light a candle, recite Kaddish and record the visit on their behalf.

Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel said, “For the bereaved families of Israeli soldiers and terror victims who are used to going to the graves of their loved ones year after year, light a candle, and say Kaddish, this year will be particularly difficult.

“This year they aren’t even able to receive a hug from their families and loved ones. The “1221 Remembering One and All” initiative was created in order to emphasize that in spite of the unusual circumstances that are affecting us all this year, we still remember and honor each and every one of the people who died and show our support for their families. We are also doing this as a sign of the unity of the nation of Israel during these difficult times.”

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