Rehearsals for Memorial Day event
Rehearsals for Memorial Day event Yoni Kempinski

On Tuesday evening, the eve of the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, the Defense Ministry, the National Insurance Institute (NII) and the Knesset held the third annual “Songs in their Memory” event. The event was attended by thousands of bereaved family members and other Israelis.

Taking part in the memorial event were some of Israel’s best singers, as well as the IDF Chief Cantor Lt. Col. Shai Abramson, the IDF orchestra and IDF entertainment troupe.

3,000 members of bereaved families and citizens took part in the event, which took place in the Knesset plaza. In addition to memorial songs, poems and readings were read by Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Naveh, police chief Yohanan Danino, Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon and other public officials. The officials read excerpts written by the fallen soldiers and victims of terror, as well as poems written about them.

Arutz Sheva visited the rehearsals for the memorial event and spoke with the participating singers. The visit took place on Monday, one day before the ceremony itself.

“The event ‘Songs in their Memory’ will be held for the third time,” said Knesset Secretary-General Dan Landau. “Its uniqueness is in the fact that the two subjects of bereavement – the military bereavement of the fallen IDF soldiers and the civilian bereavement of the terror victims – come together. This is the only state-sponsored stage in Israel on which the fallen soldiers and the victims of terror are commemorated in one event.”

Landau explained that “the purpose of the event, besides having these two agendas on one stage, is doing it with the Knesset in the background so it can be an institution which includes the entire public.”

He expressed hope that in addition to the 3,000 people in attendance, hundreds of thousands more will join the event by watching it on television, listening to it on the radio and watching on the internet.

Popular Israeli singer Lior Narkis, for whom it was the first time performing at an official state-sponsored Memorial Day ceremony, said he was excited and proud of the opportunity to take part in such an important event.

“It’s hard to explain how great the excitement is to sing on Memorial Day,” he said. “It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve done in my career, and it’s the first time, by the way, that I sing at a Memorial Day ceremony. I sang in school ceremonies and the like, but it’s the first time I’m singing in an official ceremony and it’s very very exciting.”

Jewish music singer Udi Davidi, who also took part in the event, said, “The eve of Memorial Day is a different kind of excitement. It’s not the same as the excitement of a regular performance, and it goes beyond the fact that working with these people is a great honor for me and a new thing. I’ve never had the chance to perform with such a big group of musicians.”

According to Davidi, “The greatest thing, at the end of the day, is to form a situation of one united people of Israel. I sometimes say during my shows that at times we feel as though there is a concrete wall dividing us, but that concrete wall is only one millimeter thick and we need that first person who will be brave enough to give it a little push.”

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