Gantz expands definition of bereaved family to include siblings, orphans

Upon bestowing the first few certificates, Gantz noted that "this is a small and symbolic act, which has a great significance."

 Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has decided to recognize bereaved siblings and people who were orphaned as a result of Israel's military campaigns over the years as bereaved family members and to grant them a bereavement certificate accordingly.
The decision means that people who were historically excluded from being recognized as bereaved family members will be able to receive certain benefits and grants that have been withheld from them. But, more importantly, it will provide them with the national recognition they have been seeking for so long – in some cases, for decades.
The decision was announced by Gantz following several months of extensive staff work that examined the issue from various perspectives.
The first ceremony of bestowing people with the long-awaited certificates was held in the presence of Gantz, Minister for Civic Issues within the Defense Ministry Michael Biton, head of the Defense Ministry's Families and Commemoration Department Arye Mualem, chairwoman of the Bereaved Siblings Committee Frida Sneiderman – whose brothers fell during the Yom Kippur War – and Albert Amsalem, whose father was killed while on reserve duty in the Armored Corps.
Upon bestowing the first few certificates, Gantz noted that "this is a small and symbolic act, that has a great significance for you. I'm very proud to say that after years of struggle, I was able, as defense minister, to answer your pleas; to actualize your right."
He added that "the State of Israel and the defense establishment owes you an eternal gratitude" and that "the entire Israeli society is hugging you. We will keep working together in order to cherish and remember your loved ones."
Biton, a bereaved brother himself, said that "the State of Israel has paid and is still paying a heavy price to exist. We've been mourning the deaths of those who've sacrificed their lives to protect our home for generations," adding that "I, too, am a son to a bereaved family - I've lost my beloved brother Avi, who died during his military service.
"Granting these certificates to bereaved siblings and the orphans of Israel's campaigns expresses the moral obligation of all Israeli society," Biton concluded.