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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The state of Israel was given to the Jewish people, according to a well-known Hebrew poem, on a “silver platter.” The silver platter refers to the thousands who were killed in Israel’s struggle for independence. In the decades since, many more have joined their number as the country’s enemies continue to wage war and terrorism against it.

Those whose loved ones have fallen in Israel’s defense feel their loss every day. Others memorialize the soldiers as a whole every year on Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. For them, a question arises: With well over 23,000 having given their lives in service to their country, and with more being added to the list every year, how is it enough to dedicate a single day each year to their memory? Furthermore, for those who are lucky enough to have not suffered personal loss: How can one relate to the fallen on a personal level, and to see them as more than a growing number?

To address these questions, the Boca Raton-based Helping Israel Fund has created a Facebook page called Remember Israel’s Fallen. Every other day, the page memorializes an Israeli soldier with his or her picture and a short biography. Remember Israel’s Fallen posts have gained a lot of traction recently, with likes and comments from Israel supporters from around the world, Jewish and otherwise.

A recent post recounted the story of an Israeli who wanted to serve his country despite having suffered a serious injury. After convincing the army’s recruitment office to allow him to enlist, he served in the Givati Infantry Brigade and became an officer. In 2001, he was tragically killed while battling terrorists on the Gaza Strip’s border. The post was engaged with by hundreds of Facebook users from the United States, Israel and other countries, who mourned the loss almost 20 years ago of a man whose story they otherwise may never have known.

The Helping Israel Fund also runs a project at www.IsraelsFallen.com where Israel’s supporters can sign up to receive the name of a fallen soldier to remember on Yom Hazikaron. The project’s goal is to recruit enough people to remember every one of the thousands of fallen soldiers, including many who did not leave behind friends or family to remember them.

The Facebook page and website tie into the organization’s Bereaved Family Fund, which supports efforts in Israel to aid the families of fallen soldiers. The fund has hosted the bat mitzvah of a girl whose father was killed in battle, bought appliances for the family of a soldier who died defending a town near Jerusalem, supplied dozens of bereaved families with food for the holidays and more.

To find out more about Remember Israel’s Fallen, visit Facebook.com/IsraelsFallen and www.IsraelsFallen.com

For more information about the Helping Israel Fund, visit: www.helpingisraelfund.com.

By Amichai Bacharach