Amb. Dermer: ‘We no longer beg others to defend us’

“Today, we no longer bow our heads, Israel stands tall today. We no longer beg others to defend us,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United States said.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

During a small ceremony held on Monday at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to pay tribute to Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., spoke about the heavy price the Jewish people have paid to make a home for themselves.

“For 20 centuries, the Jewish people were subjected to every evil under the sun. For 20 centuries, we bowed our heads for our enemies. For 20 centuries, we begged others to defend us,” Dermer said.

“Today, we no longer bow our heads, Israel stands tall today. We no longer beg others to defend us.”

“As we remember this historic transformation on Yom Hazikaron [Day of Remembrance], we also remember that it has come at a price, a heavy price, and we reaffirm our sacred duty to remember those who have paid that price and to embrace their families,” he said.

Although only a few people attended the ceremony due to coronavirus social distancing regulations, the event was streamed on social media.

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On Monday night, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and President Reuven Rivlin paid tribute to Israel’s lone soldiers during this year’s Masa Memorial Day ceremony.

The Masa Memorial Day ceremony is Israel’s only official Memorial Day ceremony broadcast live in English. During its annual broadcast, the ceremony is simultaneously translated into French, Spanish, and Russian.

Normally thousands flock to the ceremony held in Latrun, Israel’s official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armored corps, but this year no audience was present due to the pandemic.

“Since 1948, young Jews have continued to come from around the world to help defend the Jewish homeland,” said Herzog.

“Many have paid the highest price of all, and today we mourn with their families and friends and remember their smiles, their voices, and their dreams,” he said.

Rivlin said, “This is our opportunity to do them honor, to remember those lone soldiers who made a brave decision and whose lives were lost during their service.”

This year’s Memorial Day gives a chance for friends and families to remember the 23,816 Israelis who gave their lives in Israel’s wars and operations, as well as the 4,166 citizens who were murdered in terror attacks.

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Among those also remembered are the 1,510 Israeli policemen and women who fell during their service.