Mount Herzl, Jerusalem
Mount Herzl, JerusalemYonatan Sindel/Flash90

In an interview with Israel National News - Arutz Sheva, Avi Gorovsky talks about the commemoration project that he has been leading for the past thirty years for the victims of the IDF and terrorist attacks, a project that keeps him busy almost non-stop in these days of war.

"This is a project that requires many people to have been involved over decades. The software is only a small part," emphasizes Gorovsky, who says that the project, run by Tvuna, belonging to the SQLINK group, was embarked on the 25th anniversary of the Six Day War, when other than engraving the names of the fallen on a commemorative wall, the only way to commemorate the victims was through information systems. From then until today, the project has collected information on all the victims of Israel's wars, since the days of the underground, including the victims of the intelligence community and the Israel Police in "over 150 projects that are included in this enterprise through the Latrun site, local councils and local authorities and school systems."

Gorovsky points out the coordination and synchronization between the various commemorative projects because sometimes several of them commemorate one fallen soldier. "There are cases where a fallen soldier is commemorated in Jerusalem because he was born in Jerusalem, and he is also commemorated at Latrun because he was in the Tanks Corp, and he is also commemorated in the Communications Corps because he was a signal operator, and he might have been killed in Tel Aviv and is also commemorated in Tel Aviv, so the database is a central unit collecting data from all sites where he is commemorated."

The commemoration allows the families of the victims to update and add details, photos, texts, videos, and other materials. Gorovsky and his team are not in direct contact with the family members who wish to update the commemoration page of their loved one, but they work with the commemorating entities, such as the various IDF units, the commemoration associations, Yad Labanim, etc. The victim officers and appointed officials are in direct contact with the family members, thus avoiding situations of disagreements within the family about what to write, in fact, the "mediating" party receives the material after the family has made its decision and the material is uploaded to the relevant page. In addition, says Gorovsky, "it is very important that those who are in contact with the families are the same people who are also in contact with them in other areas, such as welfare."

He also points out the importance of contact with the family members in order to help them decide on the way of commemorating their loved one. "Many families produce films and albums, but an integral part of commemoration is the psychological process of thinking about how one wants to go about this."

In the past year, the project has renewed the commemorative pages of many of the fallen of the Yom Kippur War on the fiftieth anniversary of the war. Family members, especially the children of the fallen, were not aware of the memorial site and did not know that they would be able to update and add information. To this end, the members of the War Martyrs' Commemoration Association contacted them and informed them of the options available to them.

Regarding the casualties of the current war in the south, Gorovsky says: "Two days after the start of the war, we already received information from the Givati Brigade about 72 casualties who fell in the first days. The casualty officer passed on information to us. The Brigade notified the bereaved families, and since then, the families have been updating information. If a family wishes to change information, they can do it at any given moment."

Towards the end of the conversation with Gorovsky, we ask him a question that is probably hard for him to answer. To what extent does the daily preoccupation with the memory of the fallen affect him on a personal level? Gorovsky points out the seemingly unnatural combination between his computer company and the field of commemoration, but commemoration, he emphasizes, also includes the involvement with the heroism of the fallen and the legacy of the battles in which they fell, and this work is much greater and broader than any normal work day.

"I have a close relationship with many bereaved families, whom I meet at memorial ceremonies of the IDF units and the local authorities. It is a subject that I think about a lot, and I consider it a great honor to be able to commemorate soldiers and their heroism," he says, his voice breaking.