Yom Hazikaron speech
As someone who identifies closely with the State of Israel - it is my birthplace and spiritual homeland - Israel is on my radar on a daily, at times hourly basis. For many of us, our love for Israel is unconditional. And not unlike the unconditional love we have for our children, it allows for a range of emotions, but ultimately the love and support is unwavering.
This familial relationship is what compelled me to travel to Israel at the age of 18, and to proudly serve in the Golani Brigade. Moreover, being exposed to Israel's precarious history over the decades since its founding - facing constant attack from its neighbours - only added to my admiration and respect for a people who face an existential threat of destruction, yet manage to lead moral and productive lives.
I remember fallen comrades on this special day, and like many of us who have lived in Israel, I remember family too. My uncle, Shaul Yemini, was killed in the line of duty in 1969.
So what does Yom Hazikaron mean to me?
It is a day to remember and reflect on those who have paid the ultimate price so that the State of Israel can be what it is today. It is a day to remember and console those who have lost their loved ones. It is also a day to remember and be grateful to the men and women who continue to protect the Jewish State.
On this sombre day, we should particularly remember Gilad Shalit and pray and continue to work for his immediate release. I take solace that this prayer is delivered every Shabbat in synagogues all over the world.
It is my profound hope and prayer that peace will reign in the region. We all wish for the same outcome, that no longer will we have to mourn over the loss of our brothers and sisters in our beloved State of Israel.