LT.-GEN. GADI EISENKOT leads the March of the Living, 2018.
(photo credit: IDF)
On rare occasions, the passing of time does not allow perspective, does not heal, and cannot offer an explanation to the events of the past.
Even 73 years after the Nazi killing machine was eradicated, the Jewish Holocaust is impossible to digest. During that period, our people saw great darkness in Europe and in other countries invaded by the Nazis, and dared to dream of hope and a safe homeland. In the concentration camps and ghettos, in the valleys of death, in the hiding places and forests, our people wandered not knowing what their fate would be.
A few years later, some of them were marching in the lines of the Hagana – holding a weapon, united as one, men and women from all across the world. Knowing that the propitious time had come, the time to establish a safe home, to protect ourselves from any enemy. Understanding that the time had arrived to assure that the Nazis’ wish to destroy the Jewish people would never be fulfilled.
When David Ben-Gurion confidently declared the country’s independence, the Resistance fighters transitioned into the Israel Defense Forces and were immediately forced to stand for our future, in a battle for our country’s independence.
Several years later, the IDF’s representatives returned to the death factories, and by doing so, sent a message of the IDF’s strength and supremacy against any enemy. Each one carrying a silent promise – to remember forever.
As commanders in the IDF, we have the privilege and duty to preserve the memory of the survivors and those who perished, to remember and tell the stories of the victims, their pain, and their hope. To educate the generations who did not get the chance to know the people who were there, in the uncertainty of Europe, in humanity’s darkest hour. To remember and keep our promise – never again.
The IDF, the shield of the Jewish people, will forever stand in its obligation to provide a safe haven for the Jewish people, a place where we can live our lives, where we can create and develop a modern and innovative society that benefits itself and all of humanity, despite the complex security challenges facing us.
We are blessed to have the great privilege of being born in a remarkable time in history, a time in which the people of Israel have an independent national home – 70 years of independence after 2,000 years of exile. In the passage of 70 years of independence the IDF is an operational, advanced and leading army whose military strength is known to all his enemy’s.
Our duty to assure the existence of the State of Israel is not only towards our family, friends, and citizens. It is an historic obligation to our people who stood unprotected and were marched to their deaths, and to those who escaped.
The blood of 6,000,000 victims cries out to us – stand as the guards we didn’t have, assure that Jewish blood will never again be abandoned. We will proudly keep their last will and testament, and continue to safeguard the State of Israel, allowing it to prosper and flourish.
May the memory of our brothers and sisters be a blessing.
Chief of the General Staff of the IDF,
Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot
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