The Jewish Agency for Israel held its annual Yom HaZikaron (national Memorial Day) ceremony this morning at the organization’s historic courtyard in Jerusalem. The ceremony held each year honors those who fell in Israeli military conflicts, as well as in terror and antisemitic attacks around the world.
This year’s ceremony also paid homage to the victims of the Kfar Etzion Massacre, where residents of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion defended the grounds during a two-day battle in 1948, a day before the declaration of Israel’s independence. In total, 127 people died, with 22 of them women fighters.
At the ceremony, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, along with Col. Yossi Ron, who lost both of his parents in that battle - lit a memorial torch in memory of those who died. Seventy-one children lost a parent that day, with Ron being the only one who lost both of his parents in battle.
The ceremony also honored the memory of the late Elan Ganeles, a former participant of Jewish Agency programs who grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and was killed in a terrorist attack at the Arava junction in February. It also honored Rene Hajaj who died in an antisemitic attack in France last year.
The Jewish Agency hosted the ceremony in cooperation with the World Zionist Organization, KKL, Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Jewish Federations of Canada.
In addition to Chairman Almog, notable figures attending the ceremony included: Mark Wilf, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Board of Governors; Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization; Yifat Ovadia-Lusky, Chair of KKL-JNF; Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of JFNA; Julie Platt, Chair of JFNA; Jeffrey Schoenfeld, Chair of the Israel and Overseas Committee of JFNA; Becky Caspi, Senior Vice President for Global Operations of JFNA; Yaron Shavit, Deputy Chairman of the Executive at The Jewish Agency; and Sarah Mali, Director General of JFC-UIA Canada in Israel.