With songs, Knesset remembers the fallen

Popular singers join IDF bands in ceremony emphasizing songs, poetry of the memorialized; US born soldier Levin honored.

Yuli Edelstein370  (photo credit: Knesset Spokesman’s Office)
Yuli Edelstein370
(photo credit: Knesset Spokesman’s Office)
The Knesset and Defense Ministry commemorated the memory of fallen soldiers and victims of terror Sunday night, in a ceremony featuring their songs, poetry and artwork.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisencott, Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen and others read poetry and other works written by fallen soldiers.
Popular singers – such as Keren Peles and Arkadi Duchin – performed accompanied by IDF bands and singers.
The ceremony brought gravitas to the Israeli pastime of singing in public, as the words to well-known songs memorializing soldiers were displayed on large screens and the crowd of over 3,000 sang along with the professionals.
Short documentary segments about fallen soldiers were played between the songs.
Ya’alon recalled a friend of his named Dudik, who was shot in the head during an operation in Jordan.
“Even though 43 years have passed, the memories are still strong, and we still miss Dudik, who stayed 20 years old,” the defense minister said.
The ceremony at the Knesset emphasized acts of memorializing the fallen, such as the dedication of branches of the Lone Soldier Center in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the name of US-born IDF soldier Michael Levin, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War.
Levin immigrated to Israel from Philadelphia in 2002 and joined the Paratroop Brigade. He fought in the Second Lebanon War, cutting short a vacation to the United States to rejoin his comrades.
On August 21, 2006, a Hezbollah sniper killed Levin in the southern Lebanese village of Ayta a- Shayeb. He was 21 years old.
Another soldier honored at the ceremony was Avi Afner, who died in the 1997 Helicopter Disaster. His family hiked the Israel Trail in his honor.
Works of art – drawings, paintings and sculptures – by soldiers who died during their service, gathered by the Defense Ministry, were also displayed on a screen at the ceremony, as an IDF band sang.
Books compiling the art and writings of soldiers who were killed, were first published in 1952, titled Parchment of Fire, after the poet Reuven Avinoam, who lost his son Noam in the War of Independence, asked then prime minister David Ben- Gurion to collect and publish such works.
Seven Parchment of Fire books have been published.
In 1965, the first three volumes were translated into English, and in 1970 a record was released of songs based on poems from the books.