Netanyahu: I, too, want to be at grave of my family’s fallen; Honors heroic brother

The prime minister said he identified with families who couldn’t visit the graves of their loved ones this Memorial Day.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his sympathies to bereaved families who were forbidden from visiting the gravesides of their loved ones on Memorial Day, which took place on Tuesday. He said he too would have liked to visit the grave of his brother.

“My brothers and sisters, to the bereaved families, during our 72 years of independence we knew different Memorial Days. This year we remember our sons and daughters, the wonderful heroes, in the midst of the fight against the coronavirus,” Netanyahu said in a post to social media.

“We will do so with determination, fierceness and national unity. These values are the legacy of the fallen, the legacy of our loved ones.”

“We’ve known Memorial Days in times of wars and battles, in times of operations and raids, in times of terrorist attacks, and even in peaceful times – even as preparedness and alertness continued – because it never leaves us,” he said.

Netanyahu then posted separately a video about his brother Yonatan Netanyahu, who was killed in the 1976 mission to rescue hostages at Entebbe in Uganda where they had been taken by pro-Palestinian terrorists. The only IDF soldier killed in the operation was Netanyahu’s brother, who led the mission.

“I know how hard it is, because like you, I want to be at the graveside of my brother, may his memory be a blessing,” Netanyahu said.

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“They would want us all to continue living in health and security. This year we will remember them in many other ways.”

Israeli military cemeteries were closed for Memorial Day to prevent public gatherings and a resurgence of the coronavirus. Israel’s strict guidelines have led to a decrease in the number of cases. On Monday, the number of infected dropped below 150 for the second straight day.

Even more forceful restrictions will be put in place on Independence Day, which begins Tuesday night immediately after Memorial Day.

Since Israel’s last Memorial Day 42 soldiers were killed. The total number of Israeli war casualties is 23,816.