Yom Ha’zikaron, the day of remembrance. One of the saddest days in the Israeli calendar situated directly before Yom Haatzmaut. Israels Independence Day and one of the happiest days in the Israeli calendar. Why? How can we be so happy such a short time after the sadness experienced whilst remembering the loved ones lost? The days being next to each other demonstrates the Israelis debt to those soldiers whom sacrificed their lives for the sole existence of the Jewish State. No celebration can commence until we’ve thanked those that made it happen. Those that showed no fear so that Israel can be a loving home to so many people today. Unfortunately, due to the continued hostility within the State of Israel, Yom Ha’zikaron is no longer just to remember fallen soldiers but also victims of terror attacks that still occur today. The list of people we are remembering gets longer each year along with the number of families gathering to mourn.

Being an 18 year old Israeli who has lived in England most of my life, and decided not to return to Israel to undertake my military service, to attend university instead. I feel especially moved by Yom Ha’zikaron. I remind myself that the names we read out and the stories we hear are all people, many of whom are my age, who tried to defend the country that my family call home. I could be out there experiencing what many of those brave soldiers experience, what members of my family have experienced. But instead I am safe at home, and I cannot be more grateful for what they do.

Yom Ha’zikaron in Israel is a day like no others. The sound of the sirens runs through your body as you feel the whole country come to a stop. It is almost like the whole country breathed in. You can feel the hearts of the Israelis around you bleeding sadness yet also bursting with pride.

This day, is a day to just stop. To stop and think about the people that did not return home safely. To be sad but also grateful, that they did what they did so that the Jewish people have a home. To appreciate the life that you have because somebody else gave up theirs. To support everybody around you, as this time will be tougher for some more than others. And of course, most importantly, never forget. Amongst all the chaos of today, the actions of the past should never be forgotten.

– Eden Malca, Bogeret