Operation Protective Edge Memorial to be Built in Gvaram Forest.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Three years after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, KKL-JNF and the Bereaved Families’ Association are establishing a memorial center in Gvaram Forest, commemorating the soldiers who were killed in action.
KKL-JNF has decided to establish the commemorative site for the fallen soldiers of Operation Protective Edge in the Gvaram Forest in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The location was chosen by the Bereaved Families Association and directed by KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar.
The bereaved families, together with KKL-JNF representatives, toured the area surrounding the Gaza Strip to find the right spot for the memorial site. They wanted to find somewhere as close as possible to where the soldiers had stayed and prepared for battle during the campaign. They agreed upon this forest for its location, beauty and suitability to the requirements of the memorial site. The new site will include a commemoration area where ceremonies can be held, with a capacity of up to 300 participants; a picnic area accessible to people with physical disabilities; and the existing amphitheater at the site will undergo renovation.
KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar commented that “For KKL-JNF, the commemoration of all IDF fallen soldiers in its forests is a mission of national and human importance. National importance because it emphasizes the magnitude of the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for this country; and human importance because it provides bereaved families with the knowledge that there is a special place where their loved ones are commemorated and their memory is honored. I see tremendous importance in establishing the monument at Gvaram Forest, in close proximity to where the battles of Protective Edge took place. I hope that this site, which will be a starting point for bike rides, flower tours and nature hikes, will remind its visitors that they are enable to enjoy it all thanks to the soldiers who gave their lives so that we can continue living a normal life, here in Israel.”
Zohar Tzafon, Landscape Architect for KKL-JNF’s southern region, told us about the decision to build the memorial site:
“The Association of Protective Edge Fallen Soldiers’ Families submitted a request to KKL-JNF Chairman Daniel Atar, and he decided to be personally responsible for this project and instructed the regional staff on how to act. The location for the monument was decided after many tours in the region, specifically near the area surrounding the Gaza Strip and of the battlefields throughout the operation. Of all the places we’ve seen, the families fell in love with Gvaram Forest. We mobilized the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel, and once their approval was granted, it was decided that this would be the location.”
Yair Farjoun, Mayor of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, said:
“Gvaram Forest is the most appropriate place for the memorial site for the fallen soldiers of Protective Edge. Gvaram Forest symbolizes our – and the people living in the Gaza envelope’s - aspiration to live in peace in this beautiful region. The soldiers who were killed here in Protective Edge sacrificed their lives to guarantee our safety, so that we could get back to our day-to-day lives. We cherish their memory and are proud that Gvaram Forest was chosen as the site for the monument commemorating their heroism.”
Avi Yaacobi, father of Gilad Yaacobi-Rosental Z”L from the Golani brigade, who was killed in action in the Battle of Shuja’iyya, said: “Our sons died in order to protect this region, so that it can be a vibrant place, with performances and bike tracks and nature trails and so that people will come here. It is very comforting, very beautiful. This place is endearing.”
See more photos of the future memorial site