The ceremony marking the start of Remembrance Day for Israels Fallen took place at the Western Wall Plaza in the presence of the President of Israel, the Chief of Staff, and hundreds of bereaved families.
President Ruven Rivlin and Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot spoke to the families. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, read Chapter 83 of Psalms and the father of Elchai Tahar-Lev, recently murdered in a terror attack, recited the Mourners Kaddish.
President Rivlin said: Once, when I was small, those who fell were big, members of the older grades, the youth movement leaders we admired. After that, those who fell were my age, close friends, from class, from the grade. We brought children into the world, and the fallen were our childrens ages, or children of close friends, friends of our children. Young and younger. And today, I come to their homes, to your homes. And they the fallen are really young. The age of our grandchildren. Like a cursed fate, I keep arriving too late. I keep missing them. I see their names in a black box. And the pictures are in color, and the videos are alive, and the last selfie with the younger brother, and the last message to Mother. And the heart breaks. And Grandparents, you are sitting there, always on the side, sitting silently, and I remain silent with you. We know that there is a price to our existence here, to our freedom. And we fearfully are prepared to pay it. Dear families, we are living the privilege, you have paid the price. The price of our freedom bought with blood. We must be readier than ready. Always busy, not in preventing the next war, but in preventing the next wars, with every tool and option available to us.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said: An entire nation sadly and proudly carries the memory of its dearest, acknowledging the contribution of its heroic fallen and bowing its head in their honor. We look into the future with pride and will march to the light of the legacy left to us by the fallen, a legacy of solidarity among soldiers and of great sacrifice and fighting spirit, courage and heroism. In the wars of Israel, operations, and secret missions, the heritage of the State of Israel and of the Israel Defense Force was written by courageous fighters who stormed, who kept fighting even under impossible conditions, who stood few in the face of many against all odds. A heritage of persistence and of uncompromising fighting until the mission is achieved. When we lift our heads, we see the defense walls of our nations Israel Defense Force.
The Chief of Staff turned to the bereaved families and said: Dear members of bereaved families, today we lift our heads and look up at you. The courage you convey is admirable and gives us strength. Your relationship with the IDF is the fulfillment of the promise we made to our friends who fell, to always be by your side. I wish to pray today, as on every day of the year, for the full recovery for our wounded, and to promise to continue to accompany them on their long and challenging journey.