Dozens of young boys and girls who have lost a parent during IDF service celebrated their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at the Western Wall Monday. The youths celebrated the event with prayers, a tour of the Knesset, and a gala celebration at the Jerusalem Theater.
Among the guests who celebrated the event with the youths were President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and other notables. Peres greeted each Bar and Bat Mitzvah candidate, and hugged them.
Speaking to the celebrants, Peres said that “the State of Israel and everyone in it gives you a hug. You children are the most precious things we have, and we love you very much. You should know that the State of Israel values the greatness of your parents, who fell in the field of battle. We are a country of 64 years that went through seven wars, always at a disadvantage.
“According to cold logic, we are supposed to lose,” Peres added. “But we won these wars, thanks to the bravery of your parents. You should remember them proudly. I know it is sad to live without a mother and father, but you must not forget what kind of people they were and how they saved the country. You have an important task in supporting your families, and the country,” Peres added.