'This ceremony is for soldiers only'

Yad Labanim upsets families of civilians who died in war.

yad labanim 88 (photo credit: )
yad labanim 88
(photo credit: )
Yad Lebanim, the organization that represents the families of Israel's fallen soldiers, has refused public requests to hold a joint ceremony on Monday for military and civilian victims on the first anniversary of the Second Lebanon War. "I have spoken to Minister Ya'acov Edri, the head of the Knesset committee, and I clarified that this ceremony is in memory of soldiers only," Eli Dahan, chairman of Yad Labanim's Jerusalem branch, told The Jerusalem Post. He agreed with me and asked me to let a representative of the bereaved citizen families lay a wreath, and I consented. We have no problem with canceling the ceremony if they try to force anything else on us. This is not a state ceremony... and it is under our control." Asked for his opinion, Edri said: "This is a military ceremony and is it open to all citizens. A representative of the bereaved civilians' families will lay a wreath and the defense minister will mention them in his speech. We have decided to hold one ceremony instead of two." The Knesset Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols last Thursday voted to hold a single ceremony for the 119 soldiers and 44 civilians who lost their lives in the war. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi will speak at the memorial ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl military cemetery.