Festivities in Tel Aviv
Photo: Herzel Yosef
Local authorities throughout Israel have announced that they will kick off upcoming Independence Day festivities with a prayer for the wellbeing of the State and the return of its captives and MIAs.
The move was initiated by the Tzohar Organization, Knesset Lobby for Local Government Chairman MK Zeev Bielski, and Union of Local Authorities Chairman Shlomo Bohbot, who proposed the prayer to Israel's mayors.
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"On this special day we want to return to the vision, the ambitions, and the dreams we all share. Following an initiative by the rabbis of Tzohar, we propose that as this day begins we band together and start the Independence Day celebrations with a lifting moment of prayer," they wrote in a letter to the various municipalities.
"The prayer suggested is one for the wellbeing of the State, drafted in the year of its establishment by Israel's chief rabbis and author Shmuel Yosef Agnon."
Among the municipalities that responded positively were Jerusalem, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Beersheba, Givatayim, Givat Shmuel, Hatzor Haglilit, Netivot, Ofakim, Dimona, and Shoham.
The prayer includes a blessing for IDF soldiers and Israel's security forces, as well as a request for peace in Israel and the return of all Jews from the Diaspora.
The rabbis of Tzohar have also added a prayer asking God to watch over kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and return him to his family. Other MIAs included in the prayer are Ron Arad, Zechariah Baumel, Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Guy Hever, and Majdi Halabi.