At this time the family of Israel remembers those who have fallen in battle and whilst preserving the peace.
"Today, the entire state of Israel unites in pain and gratitude, in sorrow and solidarity, for its 23,646 fallen soldiers — the heroic men and women who paid the ultimate price of their lives to ensure the creation and continued existence of the Jewish homeland. As with every year, on "Yom HaZikaron we remember too many faces whose lives were cut tragically short. These beautiful faces will stay forever young.
I remember those that I knew in training and under fire in battle; I remember their smiles and their warmth. I remember the face of the father who hugged his son, kissed his wife, and left but never returned.
Today, we all bow our heads, salute the memories of the fallen, and tightly embrace the bereaved families who lost their most precious and dearest and whose sadness never wanes.
The sacrifices of all who have fallen were not in vain. Their legacies are indelibly etched on the history pages of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Tonight, when Yom HaZikaron ends and all Israeli flags are flying again at full-staff, we will begin to celebrate Israel's 70 years of independence — 70 years of hope, heroism, and unprecedented achievements.
This miracle of seven decades of success has been possible primarily thanks to the courage, resolve, and bravery of Israel's defenders, who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the State of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. Without the IDF soldiers' single-focused service and sacrifices, Israel would not be the bastion of freedom, liberty, and progress that it is today.
Being in Israel right now, with more than 150 Americans, Jews and non-Jews, as part of the biggest FIDF mission ever, demonstrates the unbreakable bond between the great United States of America and Israel. Only by standing together, fully united, can we face the challenges we currently see in our world.
On the eve of Israel's 70th birthday, we pray for the security of Israel, and for the strength and resolve of its citizens and soldiers. We pray for the return of missing soldiers, and for the speedy recovery of the wounded.
As the FIDF family, we must always have the backs of these brave young men and women, stand in solidarity with them, and look after them as they look after Israel.
With deep respect,
Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir
National Director and CEO
Friends of the IDF (FIDF)