(photo credit: AP [file])
Saying the government has forgotten the parents of soldiers who fell in the Second Lebanon War, David Einhorn, whose 22-year-old son Yonatan was killed in the war, is preparing a alternative memorial ceremony to be held on Wednesday, rather than attending the official state ceremony.
St.-Sgt. Yonatan Einhorn, a member of the Paratroopers Brigade's 101st
battalion, was killed by an anti-tank missile in Ayta a-Sha'ab, Lebanon, on August 1, 2006. His father is upset that top government officials plan to skip the official ceremony and only send representatives.
Einhorn, who has mobilized around a dozen parents of fallen soldiers, will lead the ad hoc ceremony for the third year running. It will begin at the 1,008-meter Mount Adir, located northeast of Ma'alot and near the Lebanese border. According to Einhorn, the bereaved parents will be able to "see all the places where all of our [their] children were killed."
From there, the families will travel to Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Einhorn calls it "the journey of life for their children who never came home."
Einhorn, who lives in Moshav Gimzo, between Lod and Modi'in, continues to mobilize other bereaved parents against the lack of government empathy. A father of four surviving sons, he believes that "every year, the leaders of Israel must honor the memory of soldiers who didn't come back from the war."
According to Einhorn, but neither confirmed nor denied by their offices, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres do not plan to attend Wednesday's official military ceremony at Mount Herzl. However, Netanyahu did attend last year's ceremony, Einhorn said.
Einhorn said Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi plan to attend the alternative ceremony at Mount Herzl. The Defense Ministry could neither confirm nor offer details.
Stressing that he and the other families are not boycotting the official ceremony, Einhorn said it was "very sad that the prime minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, cannot give us 40 minutes out of the year."
The month-long conflict with Hizbullah in 2006 cost 119 IDF soldiers their lives.