Israel's right to the land born of prophetic vision and blood, says Deri

“The price of our freedom was purchased in blood,” Deri said.

May 9, 2019 18:44
2 minute read.
Israel's right to the land born of prophetic vision and blood, says Deri

Gush Etzion memorial service for Yom Hazikaron. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The nation of Israel rests on the vision of its prophets and the blood of its sons and not on United Nations declarations, Shas minister and party head Arye Deri said on Wednesday.

“Seventy-one years ago, the United Nations recognized the State of Israel, but it wasn’t the UN declaration that created this wonderful nation,” Deri said. “It was created from the visions of its prophets and the blood of its sons.”

Deri spoke during Gush Etzion’s Remembrance Day ceremony for Israel’s 3,150 civilians and the fallen 23,741 soldiers who gave their lives on behalf of the state.

“The price of our freedom was purchased in blood,” he said.

At 11 a.m., thousands of people crowded the small stone plaza at the entrance to the cemetery in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. They stood with their heads bowed as a minute-long siren rang out throughout the country to honor the dead.

But the story in this particular cemetery, located in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, predates Israel’s War of Independence.

In 1948, the Jewish fighters and residents of the four Jewish communities in the Gush Etzion bloc, were defeated by the Arab Legion, in what was considered one of the critical battles of the war – particularly with regard to the defense of Jerusalem.

The Arab forces massacred many of the soldiers and Jewish residents rather than allowing them to surrender. Various accounts place the number of dead at 129, and in some cases as high as 240.

The fall of Gush Etzion on the 4th of Iyar, May 13, just one day before the May 14 declaration of the State of Israel on the 5th of Iyar, became the foundation for the Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers. It is held, each year, just prior to the celebrations for Israel’s Independence Day.

Almost immediately after the end of the Six Day War, the children of the former inhabitants of Gush Etzion returned and rebuilt the area, starting with one of the original communities, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, which was recreated in 1967.

Deri noted that the area had continued to grow and flourish since then, particularly with the raising of a third continuous generation in Gush Etzion.

“The faith and dreams of the Kfar Etzion residents and many others who aspired to return here after 19 years has transformed this place from one of destruction to the rebirth that you see with your own eyes,” Deri said. “With God’s help we are here to stay.”

To the families who lost loved ones on the battle field or in terror attacks, Deri said that “time does not lessen the pain and the wounds have not healed. We are silent in front of you in the face of your heavy bereavement. Because there are no words that can express your pain, knowing how your life was changed by that hesitant knock at the door.”

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