I have just sat down after the fading notes of the siren have finally disappeared. It is another Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen. We have lost 22, 684 sons and daughters. For a little country like Israel, that is an enormous and incalculable loss. Over the years, I have told all those ready to listen Israel’s well-kept secret: there is no Israeli army. There is only my son and your daughter, and the neighbor’s kids. Every loss is the loss of not only an individual, but of generations: the children who will never be born, the grandchildren that will never snuggle in the laps of grandparents.
It is the destruction of not only young lives full of promise, but of their families: mothers and fathers whose lives are forever shattered, grandparents who must bear the unthinkable, young girls who lost their boyfriends, wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their fathers. Young women who died before they could experience anything of life’s promises.
After the words and ceremonies and sad music and films of remembrance, one comes to the conclusion that Israel itself is bereaved, and does not know how to comfort itself. The ongoing and seemingly neverending price for our freedom in the land God promised us is inhumanly high.
Only yesterday Achmedinijad spoke clearly of destroying Israel, uprooting us like a “cancer.” The King of Jordan proclaimed there would be another war in July. And Syria is boldly transferring long range scud missiles once again to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Only a week ago, we went through Holocaust Remembrance Day. I remember walking from my home to the Kotel. And on the way back, I stepped inside the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue, destroyed by the Arab Legion in 1948. As I stepped into the women’s section, I looked with wonder at how the once empty, destroyed shell, was filled anew with praying, chanting Jews. It reminded me of Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones rising from the dead full of life once more. They destroy, and we rebuild. So it has been for every generation of Jews.
That Europeans, who killed and tortured our families with unprecedented barbarism, destroying one-third of the Jewish people, do not rejoice at what we have done with our little country, but instead do all they can to see us die again, shows me all their tears over our dead are fake, all their Holocaust memorials empty shells. That Americans, who did nothing to stop the trains to Auschwitz or to destroy the gas chambers, should ask us to prove our desire for peace by appeasing our enemies, leading to more of our beautiful sons and daughters being killed, shows me that America too has not learned its history lessons.
There exists no comfort for the loss of our children as soldiers fighting just wars. But there is even less comfort for the loss of our children at the hands of slaughterers, terrorists, and evil regimes. Our young soldiers have given their lives to save us from that. May God bless their memories, and comfort their families. We owe them everything that makes our lives in this world as Jews possible. Let’s remember that more than one day a year.