Thursday, May 7, 2015

Israel Odyssey Day 3/4

Days 3 and 4 of my time in Israel were of profound importance to the State of Israel and the Israelis. The first of these days, Yom Hazikaron, was Israeli Memorial Day. The experience in Israel was a far cry from the over commercialized  travesty of Memorial Day in the USA. On the eve of that day there are throughout the entire country memorial services to honor the brave Israeli servicemen who gave their lives in the line of duty while protecting the Israeli population from arab aggression from Israel's neighbors - including the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, the two Lebanon wars, the two palestinian intifadas, and the most recent Gaza terrorist action initiated by Hamas. At a specific time during the ceremonies that evening sirens sound throughout Eretz Yisrael for one minute and everything comes to a dead stop. On the next day at 11AM the sirens sound for two minutes and everything once again stops for the duration of the siren. It's a very powerful experience to stand silently in place, wherever one may be, and know that every other person in the country is doing the same in honor of those fallen heroes.

Then, that very night - the eve of the next day which begins Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel erupts into celebration to commemorate the 1948 Declaration of Independence.

Just two photos to commemorate Memorial Day. The first is of some of the shrapnel and rocket debris recovered in the Merchavim district of the Negev. The second is of the evening program prior to Memorial Day. It was the moment that the sirens sounded throughout Israel and the performance was halted. The crowd of several thousand all stood and remained silent for the duration of the siren.