Yuli Edelstein370 .
(photo credit: Knesset Spokesman’s Office)
The Knesset and Defense Ministry commemorated the memory of fallen soldiers and
victims of terror Sunday night, in a ceremony featuring their songs, poetry and
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon,
Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisencott, Welfare and Social Services Minister
Meir Cohen and others read poetry and other works written by fallen
Popular singers – such as Keren Peles and Arkadi Duchin –
performed accompanied by IDF bands and singers.
The ceremony brought
gravitas to the Israeli pastime of singing in public, as the words to well-known
songs memorializing soldiers were displayed on large screens and the crowd of
over 3,000 sang along with the professionals.
Short documentary segments
about fallen soldiers were played between the songs.
Ya’alon recalled a
friend of his named Dudik, who was shot in the head during an operation in
“Even though 43 years have passed, the memories are still strong,
and we still miss Dudik, who stayed 20 years old,” the defense minister
The ceremony at the Knesset emphasized acts of memorializing the
fallen, such as the dedication of branches of the Lone Soldier Center in Tel
Aviv and Jerusalem in the name of US-born IDF soldier Michael Levin, who was
killed in the Second Lebanon War.
Levin immigrated to Israel from
Philadelphia in 2002 and joined the Paratroop Brigade. He fought in the Second
Lebanon War, cutting short a vacation to the United States to rejoin his
On August 21, 2006, a Hezbollah sniper killed Levin in the
southern Lebanese village of Ayta a- Shayeb. He was 21 years old.
soldier honored at the ceremony was Avi Afner, who died in the 1997 Helicopter
Disaster. His family hiked the Israel Trail in his honor.
Works of art –
drawings, paintings and sculptures – by soldiers who died during their service,
gathered by the Defense Ministry, were also displayed on a screen at the
ceremony, as an IDF band sang.
Books compiling the art and writings of
soldiers who were killed, were first published in 1952, titled Parchment of
Fire, after the poet Reuven Avinoam, who lost his son Noam in the War of
Independence, asked then prime minister David Ben- Gurion to collect and publish
Seven Parchment of Fire books have been published.
1965, the first three volumes were translated into English, and in 1970 a record
was released of songs based on poems from the books.