As the sun set in the Holy Land on Tuesday, Israel began her annual observance of Yom HaZikaron, the Israeli Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Ynet News' Roi Rubinstein reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a ceremony to begin the special day, mourning the loss of all Israelis, including his own brother who fell in service to the Jewish state:
The prime minister expressed his sympathy towards the bereaved families, recounting a funeral of a fallen soldier he attended several months prior, in which he witnessed the soldier's mother break down in tears and grief, crying out for her son.
"My parents, too, cried out for my fallen brother," Netanyahu related, referring to his brother Yonatan—an IDF officer in a special forces unit who fell during a hostage rescue operation that saved dozens of innocent lives. He was the sole IDF fatality of the operation.
"I cannot explain how we lived through the days of the bitter news, and the following days, weeks and months.
"All families have their own agony, and every family is heroic in its own way. To choose life after such heartbreak is altruistic," he noted, alluding to the pain one must silently endure to not saddle others with his tragedy.
"I met, together with my wife, many bereaved families who chose life through commemoration of the fallen, commitment to the country, concern for others, responsibility, kindness, and having a shoulder to lean on. And on this special day we stand shoulder to shoulder as a united nation that sees clearly the foundations of its continued existence," he continued.
The premier went on to mention those still held captive by Israel's enemies, as well as those wounded in terror attacks, wars and conflicts throughout the nation's tempestuous history, affirming they haven't been forgotten for "even a moment."
"The message left by the fallen is loud and clear; our lives may be too short, but we have ensured the life of the nation in perpetuity. They have given us the opportunity to live. Thanks to them we are here..."