The Knesset's annual "Remembering Through Song" ceremony, April 21.
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Hundreds of bereaved families gathered to hear poems recited and songs sung in honor of their relatives who made the ultimate sacrifice for Israel, at the Knesset's annual "Remembering Through Song" ceremony Tuesday evening.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein opened the poetry readings, reading a work by Haim Guri, after being introduced by a bereaved father who says he constantly imagines what his son would look like today and what his children would have been like, if he had any.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu read the lyrics to "A letter from Yoni," a song by Ehud Manor based on a letter written by the prime minister's brother Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed leading the raid on Entebbe. Singer Idan Amedi then performed the song.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon read a letter from his relative Hadar Goldin, who fell in Operation Protective Edge, to Goldin's commander about two soldiers serving under him. The first was an immigrant from Ethiopia from an underprivileged family, who Goldin made an effort to help, finding donations of a refrigerator and furniture for their home in an absorption center. The second did not want to be a combat soldier, and Goldin tried to inspire him to serve his country meaningfully.
IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino recited poems about and by fallen soldiers, and President Reuven Rivlin was in attendance.
Between recitations, musical artists performed. An IDF band sang a medley of songs inspired by Israel's wars, like "Be my friend, be my brother" from the Yom Kippur War, "I have no other land" from the First Lebanon War and "A million stars" from the second.
Miri Messika, The Revivo Project, Rotem Cohen, Ariel Horowitz, Shai-Li Atari and IDF Cantor Shai Abramson and the IDF Rabbinate Band and other IDF bands performed additional songs inspired and written by fallen soldiers.
Max Steinberg, Jordan Ben Simon and Sean Carmeli, new immigrants and lone soldiers who fell in the line of duty during Operation Protective Edge last summer, were among those memorialized in videos played between musical performances and poetry recitations
The Steinberg family took part in the ceremony as guests of the Defense Ministry, which flew them in from Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of Israelis attended their son's and Sean Carmeli's funeral last summer in a national demonstration of solidarity after hearing he did not have family in Israel.
The ceremony also included a screening of a interview with the mothers of the three teens who were kidnapped in Gush Etzion last summer, as well as the story of the Dakar submarine, which disappeared at sea in 1968, told by its captain's grandson, who is currently completing a submarine command course with distinction.
The event was co-sponsored by the Knesset, the Families and Commemoration Department at the Ministry of Defense, and the Department of Terror Victims at the National Insurance Institute.