Protective Edge Fallen to Receive Annual State Ceremony

At the request of bereaved parents, the Defense Ministry has agreed to recognize last summer's Operation Protective Edge as a full-scale war, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.  

As such, a state memorial service will be held every year in honor of the 67 soldiers who lost their lives in the two-month-long war. 

The council discussing the issue concluded talks on Wednesday and recommended the Defense Ministry immediately establish an annual ceremony. An IDF representative attending the hearing said the army's Chief of Staff was receptive to the idea and would approve it. 

Bereaved parents have already announced their expectation that the Prime Minister and the President attend the ceremony in order to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers. 

Eli Ben-Shem, the chairman of Yad Lebanim, an organization that supports bereaved families in cooperation with the Defense Ministry, expressed satisfaction at the council's decision. 

"Because both the state and the army now officially recognize Protective Edge as a military campaign, an official memorial ceremony will be held each year on Mount Herzl, as is done for all Israeli military campaigns."

According to Ben-Shem, the first ceremony will be held sometime next month to mark the first anniversary of the campaign. An official date has not yet been determined. 

"We welcome the council's decision," Ben-Shem added. "There is no difference between Protective Edge and the Second Lebanon War or Operation Kadesh – for which every year a state memorial service is held for the fallen." 

Ilan Sagi, whose son Erez was killed during the war, also welcomed the council's decision, telling Yediot it "honors the memory of our sons."

"We still think a monument should be established at the border [of Gaza]. But this struggle is an extra one, and we are still learning to deal with the daily management of our lives in the wake of the intense grief and pain of losing a child."

"Someone who has not gone through this trauma will not be able to understand us," Sagi added. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/196586

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