IDF Chief of Staff salutes 'The Three Mothers' on memorial day

General Kochavi connects matriarch Rachel with the mothers who lost children building and defending the State of Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Aviv Kochavi
Aviv Kochavi
IDF spokesperson

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi spoke at the Yom Hazikaron memorial ceremony at the Western Wall Tuesday night.

In his speech, Kochavi recalled three mothers who suffered so that the people of Israel could live and establish themselves in their land.

"The journey of the people of Israel back to their land is an unprecedented event in the history of nations. It is a kind of miracle, even if the current generation sees the country as a natural event. The achievements recorded here from the day the first person stepped on the shores of this blessed land and joined the old Yishuv are extraordinary. It is a journey of faith, determination and creativity, during the entire length of which generations of defenders stood and paid a heavy price price, a price in blood," Kochavi said.

The Chief of Staff recalled the beginning of the Jewish people's history. "This journey was not just the Exodus from Egypt but the Exodus from the East and the Exodus from the West. It was an entire people who woke up and started walking, old and young, fathers and mothers, three of whom I want to talk about. The first was our mother Rachel, who did not get to live in her own country, and knew alienation and a lack of belonging. She managed to reach Israel but did not manage to live in it and when her children were forced to depart from Israel they passed by her grave. Most of the life of the Jewish people passed beyond the limits of its land, when the people was insecure, unprepared and repeatedly persecuted and slaughtered. Zionism changed this situation fundamentally. Determined leadership in the face of many difficulties has done an incredible act, swept away and inspired many who have developed into a great people and the State of Israel. We are the generation of children who returned to our borders. We returned to the world in this time, but the return journey was and still is unbearably difficult."

"The other mother, Nehama, also took action. She left her home in Ukraine and together with her husband Joseph, who fled Nazi Austria, immigrated to the land of Israel to establish a family and a state, changed their last name to Yisraeli and established their home in Kibbutz Dovrat. It was a house saturated with Zionism and values. "A resurrected people need children," said Nehama - and gave birth to five, two of them sons: Effi and Dedi, were friends in heart and soul. Effie became an officer and instructor in an armored officers course and Dedi followed his brother and became a trainee in that course, the course that did not end. The Yom Kippur War interrupted him and the two brothers were sent to Sinai.

"On the second day of the war, Dedi's tank was hit, and although he was badly burned all over, he returned to rescue a crew member and only then was he taken to the hospital. His brother Effie remained on the battlefield, and although his tank was hit he moved to another tank and continued to fight. On the 12th, when the IDF was already fighting on the west bank of the Suez Canal, he was hit once more and killed. A familiar knock on the door of an Israeli family's house, the knock which bodes evil tidings, became the heartbreak which is part of the Israeli story, part of the Israeli pulse.

"Many, too many families, have heard the knock followed by a great outcry, a heartbreak and pain that could not be contained. Dear families, you have lost that which is the most precious of all. All around everything continues to develop and change, and only your sorrow is fortified in its place, deepening its roots and burdens. We try to understand the intensity of the pain and insist on remembering and reminding ourselves to learn from the events and to teach and see them as part of the defenders of the state. For our part, out of a commitment to the current generation of soldiers and their families, we will do everything to send them solely on worthy missions, we will improve the IDF's capabilities to carry out the missions successfully but no less to guard and protect the soldiers. Tens of thousands of soldiers and commanders now perform an infinite number of missions and return home safely as a result of the professionalism and concern of their commanders. This concern also includes caring for the injured, and a supreme effort to return the captives and missing persons to their families and country.

"The fallen defended the country, and we continue in their shoes. Standing guard. At times, the security that the State of Israel enjoys may seem obvious, but behind every protected and safe day stands an entire army that collects intelligence, prevents intrusion or shooting, raids, attacks, stops threats and prevents weapons and attacks. Even those who are immersed in defense and operational activity do not always see the magnitude of their act, whether it is the soldier who is currently marching on the northern border, as well as the officer who revealed many enemy targets this week, as well as the pilot who returned a few days ago from an attack.

"The security enjoyed by the citizens of the country consists of the achievements of all security organizations and all IDF soldiers, but the first to bear the burden are the combat soldiers and combat units who hold state security on their shoulders. Their actions should serve as an example of good citizenship, an ideal for education, and a role model in every family, school, community and locality. Exemplary organization is also the additional role of the IDF - an army that unites and unites all parts of the people, expresses the common good and is a model to emulate and identify with. IDF soldiers train together, fight together, win together, and when a friend is killed - bury them together.

"I do not know the name of the third mother, but she represents many mothers who fill the land. They have started a family, and their children are fulfilling themselves and continuing to build the State of Israel. They are secular and religious mothers, from the village and the city, Jewish, Druze, Christian, and Muslim - and they have grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they all live in their own country protected and safe. Nehama Yisraeli, the Palmach fighter who lost her two sons who served in the IDF, and whose many descendants served in combat units, is a symbol of values ​​and strength, and is an outstanding example for all of us. I salute her and her family and salute the many families for whom the bitter news has knocked on their door twice. On behalf of all the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, I salute all the bereaved families: mothers and fathers alike, widows and widowers, brothers and children. You all deserve deep appreciation. I salute you, hugging and strengthening you as much as possible," Kochavi concluded.