Remember the Soldiers

Yesterday I was walking along the Haas Promenade, The Tayelet, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

What a remarkable ancient, holy view with the sun shining and reflecting off the beautiful Jerusalem stone. A site that has been fought over for thousands of years. So much history.

I was taking in my surroundings, when I realized exactly where I was standing. It was the location where 4 holy, brave Israeli soldiers were murdered. They were killed when a Muslim Terrorist from East Jerusalem decided that would be the day that he would kill as many Jews as he could. He rammed his truck into dozens of soldiers. He killed 4 and injured 16 others.

Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, is starting on Sunday night. The night to remember and memorialize the fallen heroes of Israel. There are too many. Each soldier that has been taken from this world too soon, means something to someone. They were someone else’s world. There is a mother, a father, sister, brother, a child, a wife or husband, an aunt or uncle, a niece or nephew, a cousin, a friend, a girlfriend or boyfriend that misses them. Someone misses that soldier every day.

They don’t need a Yom HaZikaron to remember their love and their loss.

Their grief and their pain.

Their memories.

While I was walking along The Tayelet, I realized that I need a Yom HaZikaron. I need to remember the faces of the soldiers that have been killed. I need to remember to always thank the soldiers for risking their lives to protect us, to defend our country, our homeland, our Israel. I need to actively remember to not take our safety for granted. To always appreciate that we have a homeland that so many died for.

Yes, of course everything comes from God. But we are taught to never rely on miracles.

We must put in our effort. Our hishtadlut.

With an army.

Without an army, Israel would be doomed.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,

“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence.

If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel.”

Before we moved to Israel, while we observed Yom HaZikaron, I can honestly say, it didn’t have the same impact as it has now- living in Israel. Even though my brother was a Lone Soldier more than 12 years ago, and my nephew is currently serving, only now do I see the Chayalim on a daily basis- at the bus stop, on the bus, walking down the street, patrolling the highways. Each green uniform is someone. With a face, with a name. They are everywhere ensuring our safety. I didn’t feel that before we moved to Israel. Yom HaZikaron has so much more meaning to me now. The taxi driver has 3 sons, a daughter and 2 nephews all serving. The cashier has a brother up north, and she is starting her service next week. Everyone you meet has a personal army story- their own, or a relative’s. Listen to them if they want to share it.

We remember the ones that have fallen, but don’t ignore the ones that are Thank God with us. Don’t walk past them on the street without saying Thank you.

Offer to pay for their iced coffee or slice of pizza.

Have them over for Shabbat meals.

Deliver hot bourekas  and handwritten cards to them at their checkpoints.

Smile at them while you offer your seat on the bus.

Let them know that they are appreciated. It’s the least we can do.

Yom HaZikaron is the day to not only remember the fallen- but appreciate and show respect to their families. They have lost a loved one for the sake of the Jewish nation and Israel. May they know of no more sorrow.

May their memories be a blessing and may we never lose any more.

May God watch over and protect all of Israel and the soldiers of Israel.

(This essay was originally published on the author’s blog, Tova in Israel.)

Tova Knecht

Posted by Tova Knecht

Tova Knecht moved her family to Israel on August 23, 2015 from New Jersey, USA. Her blog, tovainisrael.com, focuses on all the amazing experiences she comes across while navigating through her new life in Israel. Her other focus is to highlight the positivity of Israel to help inspire others to one day make the move too. You can follow her on her Facebook Page, Tova in Israel.

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Your very meaningful message for Yom HaZikaron us so beautifully written, Tova. Thank you!

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