The committee established by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz to determine whether the word 'Israel' should be replaced by the word 'God' in the Yizkor (remembrance) prayer read during military ceremonies, decided on Thursday to leave the prayer as is.
"We must sound the official Yizkor, which is aimed especially at the people of Israel and expresses values of culture and Israel remembrance," the committee wrote.
- Receive Ynetnews updates directly
to your desktop
According to the committee, "We all agree that all those who take part in remembrance ceremonies should be allowed to express themselves with symbols they are connected to. It is therefore appropriate to stipulate in the General Staff orders that all pure religious elements of the ceremony be heard: 'Kadish', 'Tehilim' and 'El Maleh Rahamim'. It is the opinion of the majority of committee members that all these should be adopted alongside the official 'Yizkor Am Yisrael' (The people of Israel shall remember) wording."
The Yizkor committee (Photo: IDF Spokesman)
The committee noted that it received the blessing of the heads of bereavement organizations – chairman of the IDF widows and orphans and chairman of 'Yad Lebanim'. However, Chief IDF Rabbi Yisrael Weiss argued in a minority opinion that the word 'God' should not be omitted from the wording of Yizkor.
Sharing the pain
The committee also noted that "during the deliberations the extent of the embarrassment in the IDF over the Yizkor phrasing was revealed…it became clear that the IDF which is the 'nation's army' according to Basic Law was consciously given a different format from the state's version by the General Staff….the accepted religious components are not fixed by General Staff orders."
Upon the publication of the conclusions, army chief Gantz said: "It is our duty as a people to remember our fallen and proclaim that we remember ('Yizkor') at national ceremonies. We will sound our voices clearly as we share the searing pain of loss with the bereaved families who carry their pain daily and hourly."
The committee was established last month following harsh criticism caused by the decision to revise the first sentence of the prayer from "Israel remembers its sons and daughters" to God remembers his sons and daughters".
Over 64,000 people signed a petition against the proposed change, a move which led to urgent deliberations in the Knesset's Education Committee and the Foreign Affairs and Defense sub-Committee.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook