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Yair Borochov Photo: Yisrael Bardugo
Yair Borochov Photo: Yisrael Bardugo
 
 

Why I honor Memorial Day

I will stand up for a moment of silence because I do not wish to show disrespect towards the living

Yair Borochov
Published: 04.28.09, 10:44 / Israel Jewish Scene

I have read Eliezer Hayon's article on Ynet, and I even glanced at the justifiably outraged responses. As I was reading the article I kept thinking about the passage from the Bible, "Neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor."

 

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Why haredim don't honor Memorial Day  / Eliezer Hayon
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Eliezer Hayon does not represent the ultra-Orthodox public in his article. It is saddening that in these days of growing social rift, the writer took the chance to add division among the Jewish people with this unnecessary article.

 

True, many do not stand up during the siren, but not due to the reasons mentioned by Hayon. I personally believe that standing silently with your head bowed for two minutes does not constitute "honoring the memory of the fallen." I fail to see how this moment of silence honors their memory and I think that the siren serves the purpose (at least subconsciously) of easing our conscience.

 

Why do the citizens of the state need to ease their conscience? The reason is obvious – 99.99% of the people in Israel have never risked their lives in wars and have never faced danger while defending the country (except, of course, for by living in the Land of Israel – a risk in and of itself – in this we are all equal). Even among those who serve in the army, the rate of combatants is particularly low, and among those, the number of soldiers who actually confront terrorists is even lower, and stands at several hundreds only.

 

Have you ever thought of the state's citizens, including those who are not combatants, as draft-dodging parasites who live at the expense of those soldiers who risk their lives to protect the homeland? It is always nice and convenient to blame the haredim and use anti-Semitic slurs, which are motivated by sheer hate, against them.

 

This is what unites the citizens of the state on Memorial Day for the moment of silence, following which they can go on to their daily routine feeling they have done their duty and have "honored the memory of the fallen."

 

There is one point, however, on which I do agree with Hayon, who has brought Tisha B'Av as an excellent example of genuine Jewish grief, in memory and honor of the destruction. Go into any synagogue in any Jewish community on Tisha B'Av and you'll see how the dead are being honored. By fasting, wailing, sitting on the ground for 24 hours and reading texts on this difficult subject. This is honor to the dead.

 

But, on the bottom line, I, as opposed to Hayon, will stand up during the siren, if only because I do not wish to show disrespect towards the living, not the memory of the dead. In order to show sensitivity towards others and be a "mensch," because courtesy comes before the Torah.

 

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