Today we mark Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, and commemorate all those who have served and fallen in defense of the State of Israel. Seventy years after Israel’s founding and War of Independence, as we reflect on the country’s incredible strength and achievements, we feel awe at the incredible legacy of dedication and sacrifice on the part of so many.
This is a day that is deeply personal for so many Israelis. We honor not only the sacrifice of those who fell, but of the families, friends and neighbors who mourn them and who feel their loss every day. Their sacrifice is a reminder of the urgent need to do everything we can to strive for lasting peace and bring an end to conflicts that, each year, generate more tragedy, suffering and loss.
We also remember that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has exacted a terrible price from both sides, and that so many Palestinian families also live with the pain of mourning and loss. We were deeply moved by the thousands of people who attended a joint Israeli and Palestinian memorial service in Tel Aviv to acknowledge their shared pain, and shared hope for peace.
As we join with our Israeli friends and family to mark this solemn day, and then rejoice in 70 years of independence as we move to Yom Ha’atzmaut, we remember the responsibilities that come with having a democratic Jewish homeland. We resolve to continue to advocate for the urgent choices that Israel’s leaders and allies must make in order to secure its future for generations to come.