More than 200 students and community members gathered on campus Sunday night to remember Israeli soldiers who lost their lives in war.
The event, Yom HaZikaron, is devoted to the memory of the more than 21,000 Israeli soldiers who gave their lives for the creation and security of the Israeli state. The sorrowful event falls a day before the celebration of Israel’s independence.
“We remember how our soldiers fought,” said Aviva Cheses, a Jewish student in attendance. “Tomorrow we celebrate the miracle of becoming an independent nation. There is power in numbers. It is important to come together both tonight in sorrow, and later in celebration of our independence.”
The Student Alliance for Israel sponsored the program, held in the Jack Morton Auditorium. The ceremony wove video, music and speech ether.
Yoni Oinounou, special events chair of the SAFI, called Yom HaZikaron a somber night.
“Tonight, we remember the heroes who stood up to defend the Jewish homeland,”he said
Student Association President-elect Omar Woodward opened the memorial by reaching out to the Jewish community.
“It’s very important for the Student Association to get proper perspective about what is going on across campus,” he said.
Attendees sang the Israeli national anthem – Hatikva – led by Jonathan Gordon.
Senior Daniel Mesznik read a letter from the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces in English, and Col. Zohar Palti said it in Hebrew.
Alexander Berger, political affairs co-chair of the SAFI, called the ceremony an important event to remember across the GW community.
“The state of Israel and America stand side by side in defense of freedom. It is tragic that so many people have fallen in defense of (freedom ad democracy) … We come together tonight.”
An Israeli Independence Day celebration will be held on Kogan Plaza Monday from noon to 2 p.m.
“On tonight’s day of memorial, with Israel’s poor image in the world, it is important to come together and stand strong,” said Justin Spiro, an Israeli student in attendance.