Carmel fire disaster
Photo: AFP
Volunteer firefighter Elad Rivan
Uri Samandayev
Danny Hayat

Report urges special memorial service for firefighters

Gov't-commissioned report proposes system to honor non-military servicemen; separate cemeteries, decoration method are among suggestions

A report written by Eitan Haber and Professor Asa Kasher recommends a new system to commemorate firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. The report, commissioned by the ministerial committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to examine the issue, proposes a national memorial service, separate cemeteries and non-military decorations.


The ministerial committee, which is expected to gather next week to discuss the report, was established following the stir caused on Remembrance Day in May, when the three firefighters who were killed in the Carmel fire disaster - Uri Samandayev, Danny Hayat and the teen Elad Rivan – were not recognized among Israel's fallen.



Netanyahu supported the recognition of firefighters in that category, as did Interior Minister Eli Yishai, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak opposed it.


Elements in the defense establishment are concerned that if the three firefighters are recognized with the fallen soldiers, it would make a precedent that would cause families of all the deceased who served the state in any way to demand such recognition.


In addition to Yishai, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai are on the ministerial committee.

Memorial for Carmel fire victimes (Photo: Lior Susana)


'No place for separate memorial day'

Kasher and Haber's recommendations discuss ways to honor all personnel of state establishments – including firefighters – whose primary roles put them in danger. They proposed to set up parallel commemorative systems for each establishment, which would be separate from other establishments in order to observe each institution's traditions.


Moreover, they suggested assigning separate national cemeteries for people in lines of service that are not the military. They note that such territories are assigned in other countries, like the UK.


Another recommendation in the report calls for a separate national memorial ceremony, which would take place on Remembrance Day at 3 pm on Mount Herzl, at the designated cemeteries and the appropriate monuments. Just like the services held for deceased soldiers, these ceremonies are to be attended by government representatives and the heads of the state institutions in question.  


"There is no place for a separate memorial day," they wrote. "No alternative memorial day will gain the position that is required of a national day that honors rescue service personnel."


Kasher and Haber also proposed to set up a system that would decorate non-military rescue and defense personnel, because the insitutions' internal decoration systems do not have the same weight has the military system, which is has been set into law.


The report calls for a permanent ministerial or public committee that would deal with the different issues that come up in the commemorative system.



פרסום ראשון: 07.01.11, 00:09
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