Since the founding of Israel, there has been a day of remembrance of fallen soldiers in Israel’s wars. But until last year, there was no national day dedicated to the victims of terror and the soldiers injured in battle.
For the second year in a row, the state held an official Day of Recognition and Appreciation for Victims of Terror and Wounded Soldiers. In the days leading up the November 29th ceremony and the days immediately after, more than 50 events took place across the country at schools, universities, municipalities, and community centers.
The day itself featured two separate ceremonies. One took place at the President’s House and featured Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The second was a major affair for 6,000 people at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena. At least half of the seats were taken by victims of terror and wounded soldiers.
OneFamily Director Chantal Belzberg and Mindee Levinger, OneFamily’s Jerusalem Regional Coordinator, presented Aharon “Roni” Gozlan a special citation for bravery. In 2002, Aharon, an off-duty border policeman, spotted a suicide bomber in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. As the bomber detonated his explosives, Aharon jumped on top of him, saving many lives but losing both of his legs in the explosion.
Other victims and survivors of terror also received awards. In addition, Oriella Bliah, a OneFamily volunteer who coordinates all French-language activities, received special recognition at the event.
Speakers at the Pais event included Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who told the audience about the wound he received during his army own service. Other speakers included, Deputy Defense Minister Rav Eli Ben-Dahan and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. It also featured musical performances by David Broza and Moshe Peretz. Education Minister Naftali Bennett also hosted an event in the Young Israel of Woodmere, New York on the same day.