It is not easy to write the following words. After all, the pain is the same pain. Isn’t a person murdered in a terror attack part of those who have fallen for the rebirth of Israel? Yes, the pain is the same pain. But those who have fallen in battle deserve special respect; the parents of the fallen soldier deserve to feel special pride – a pride that supersedes the pride felt by the families of victims of terror.
Israel’s Memorial Day does not have to be a day of mourning. Memorial Day is the day that we should honor those who have sacrificed their lives for us. It is a day that we should salute them, internalize their legacy, lower our heads and thank their families. It is a day of salute – not another Holocaust Day.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day has become a day of personal mourning and nothing more; the purpose for which these soldiers died has lost its meaning for us. After all, the High Court has already decided that the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) can also be observed on Israel’s Independence Day. In other words, everything is virtual: Independence Day, Nakba – nothing is real. All that is left is the pain.
Everything has become confused. ‘Victory’ has become a dirty word. We do not claim to represent the truth or justice, so there is nothing to really fight for. This makes victory just another form of barbarity. The only justice that we are willing to adopt is the justice of the Western world: the justice of the victim.
Don’t even begin to think about a military y parade on Independence Day. “The only procession that our present day IDF Chief of Staff can lead is the procession from Auschwitz to Birkenau,” wrote Makor Rishoneditor Amnon Lord. How sadly right he is. All the millions being spent here in the attempt to inject happiness into Independence Day will not bring joy to the day that has lost all meaning.
“The fallen will never return.” So what difference does it make how they fell and for what purpose? Memorial Day, bereft of its meaning, ultimately serves as a day for denial of memory. For if we remove the personal suffering from its true national context, then the personal suffering itself becomes a personal point, quickly forgotten by the general public. This is not a simple question of semantics. This issue has operational significance.
Our sons are being sent to run through the alleys of Gaza and die for nothing. The military plan currently being endorsed by Ha’aretz and touted by an array of politicians from both Right and Left is to conquer the Gaza Strip from the Hamas and give it to Abu Mazen. What is the purpose? “First we will take over Gaza,” explained a rightist MK to me. “Afterwards, we will see…” By the way, the same MK supported the expulsion from Gaza, euphemistically called “The Disengagement”.
What do they care? We leave Gaza, we return to Gaza – the price that we pay has no meaning in an era in which there is no real remembrance. They lightheartedly send our soldiers to be killed capturing the same released terrorists that their friends died capturing last time. The lives of our soldiers have become very cheap in the era in which remembrance has lost its meaning.