Brigadier General Ahuva Tomer and volunteer firefighter Elad Riven, both of whom perished in the great Carmel fire, are this generation's heroes, Vice-Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said at Bnei Akiva's Jewish Heroism Week event in Beverly Hills Tuesday.
Ya'alon spoke about Jewish heroism from the Hasmonean era, up to the heroes of today. Ya'alon: The Jewish precept "All members of Israel are guarantors for each other” instills values of heroism and sacrifice in Jews, he explained. “That's what made the late Col. Dror Weinberg leap into battle, and that's what caused all those members of the security forces and fire brigade, including our beloved Tomer and Riven, to jump into the fire and save lives"
Ya'alon added praise for the youth of Bnei Akiva, which he said is "a movement that educates its members to fight for the Jewish people."
The former IDF Chief-of-Staff stressed how important it is for Jewish communities around the world to assist Israel's public diplomacy and advocacy efforts, and criticized Jewish organizations that do not take part in this struggle: "Muslims know that terrorism will not defeat us, so now the war is for legitimacy; this war is more difficult than the war for security, because [the enemies] have even succeeded in affecting the Jews: Even today there are Jews who think there is apartheid in Israel."
Besides Ya'alon, the guests of honor at the Heroism Week event were IDF Col. (res.) Rabbi Yalon Farhi, an educator, and Yaakov Dayan, Israel's Consul General in Los Angeles. The evening raised funds for the welfare of children and communities damaged during the Carmel fire and a prayer was recited for the welfare of the injured.
World Bnei Akiva and Jewish Agency emissary Shlomo Mirvis, who produced the event, was pleased: "Bnei Akiva has proved once again its importance and involvement in Jewish communities of the Diaspora, linking young Jews to Israel. The educational influence of these events emphasizes the importance of the shlichut (Israeli emissaries) institution the around the world."
The event was sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel.