A cornerstone was laid on Sunday for a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the South Lebanon Army (SLA), which cooperated with the IDF until its withdrawal from the republic in 2000.
The monument will be erected next to a gate in "the Good Fence" through which IDF soldiers entered Lebanon. The SLA’s fallen will be memorialized there both with a monument and a heritage site with information about it and the cooperation between its members and the State of Israel.
The man who pushed for the monument was the commander of the SLA reconnaissance unit, Victor Nader, who initiated the project in 2011.
A memorial previously erected in memory of SLA casualties near Marjayoun was blown up by Hezbollah after the IDF withdrew from Lebanon and the organization left. "650 soldiers fell to protect the two armies: the IDF and the SLA," commented the Ministry of Defense Director General, Udi Adam.
He commented that the two armies were “born of a strong and shared desire for a better future between the nations, for peace, for a just war against the terrorism of Hezbollah, and for a shared dream of living together without wars."
Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Golan pointed for three reasons to establishing this monument at the ceremony. They were: "The first is to thank them. To say in the name of the State of Israel: 'Thank you for everything you sacrificed for our security and security.'
"The second reason is to instruct, because the security zone is getting blurred from day to day. The knowledge that we once sat across the border and that we had a good relationship with the residents of southern Lebanon cannot be taken for granted.
"The third reason is to learn that Jews and Arabs, out of a relationship of equality and dignity, can live together, participate in each other's family events, and do it with friendship, fraternity and great love."
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)