Israeli Memorial Day, Yom Ha’Zikaron, is observed on the 4th of Iyar, the day before Israeli Independence Day, Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Yom Ha’Zikaron commemorates those who lost their lives in the establishment of the Jewish state and those who have died in active duty since then. Remembrance Day, Yom HaZikaron, which begins this evening, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with honor for the fallen. In Israel, the official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one minute siren followed by the lighting of a memorial candle at the Western Wall.
THE SILVER PLATTER
by NATHAN ALTERMAN
The Earth grows still.
The lurid sky slowly pales
Over smoking borders.
Heartsick, but still living, a people stand by
To greet the uniqueness
of the miracle.
Readied, they wait beneath the moon,
Wrapped in awesome joy, before the light.
– Then, soon,
A girl and boy step forward,
And slowly walk before the waiting nation;
In work garb and heavy-shod
Wearing yet the dress of battle, the grime
Of aching day and fire-filled night
Unwashed, weary unto death, not knowing rest,
But wearing youth like dewdrops in their hair.
– Silently the two approach
Are they of the quick or of the dead?
Through wondering tears, the people stare.
“Who are you, the silent two?”
And they reply: “We are the silver platter
Upon which the Jewish State was served to you.”
And speaking, fall in shadow at the nation’s feet.
Let the rest in Israel’s chronicles be told.
(2 photos by Irina Airinei)