The Knesset gave thanks Tuesday to the tens of thousands of Israelis who have been wounded in military service. The ceremony thanking wounded soldiers was the initiative of the Bnei Akiva Zionist youth movement.
Members of Knesset, wounded soldiers and their families, youth group members and leaders, and Chief Rabbi David Lau were among those who took part.
“I’ve always admired, and been grateful to, those who are no longer with us,” Rabbi Lau said. “But it is important to also thank those who are with us, but whose lives are no longer what they once were.”
“I couldn’t help but be impressed at this initiative, and I chose to join you in making [this] Sabbath a day of thanks to the wounded. Thank you to all of those who gave of their health for our sakes,” he said.
Former MK and former IDF General Amram Mitzna spoke as well. “The youths’ initiative to demonstrate gratitude to injured soldiers is very touching,” he said. “The nation of Israel needs to recognize, and to understand, that the state wasn’t given to us on a silver platter.”
“We aren’t always sensitive to the fact that even though life must go on, we have to remember where we came from,” he added.
Tuesday’s event was a voluntary gathering. A bill put forth by MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) and MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid) would establish an official national day of recognition for wounded soldiers. The bill has won support from Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.
Former soldiers who were wounded in combat often feel overlooked, Chetboun said. “We need to remember those who were injured. It’s a tremendous thing,” he stated.
Bnei Akiva head Danny Hirschberg said Tuesday’s gathering will prove to have been a historic moment. “Those of you sitting here are witnessing a day that will become an annual tradition,” he declared.