Masa Israel Journey, the leader in global Jewish and Israel-focused programming, commemorates its 16th annual Yom HaZikaron ceremony at Yad L’Shiryon in Latrun, Israel. This event, the largest of its kind conducted in English, attracts over 5,000 attendees and countless viewers worldwide, honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

This year’s observance of Yom HaZikaron comes at a particularly poignant time. Following the October 7th Massacre, the ongoing war, and the sharp rise in global Antisemitism, Israel and the global Jewish community face profound grief and shock. Under the theme “We Are One,” the ceremony reflected our collective mourning and the resilience necessary to rebuild and maintain hope.

Notable attendees include government representatives such as Ron Dermer, minister of strategic affaires, Yossi Fuchs, Cabinet Secretary of the Government of Israel; and Jewish leaders like Rebecca Caspi, Senior VP, Global Operations & Director General, JFNA Israel; and Amira Ahronoviz, CEO and Director General, The Jewish Agency for Israel. In addition, Ambassador María Fabiana Loguzzo – Argentina’s Special Representative for the fight against Antisemitism and Head of Delegation to IHRA, will be accompanied at the ceremony by Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Latin America. They are joining Masa Fellows and alumni, board members, Jewish Federation delegates, bereaved families, and community members in honoring the memory of those we have lost.

The ceremony is being live-streamed to a global audience with speeches by Major General (res.) Doron Almog, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Yael Sahar Rubinstein, Acting CEO of Masa Israel Journey.

This year’s ceremony shares the stories of:

Rising Sergeant (posthumously) Omer Balava Z"L: America-born combat soldier in the IDF's Nahal Brigade, who fell in battle on the northern border from Hezbollah fire. He fell on the 6th of Cheshvan, 20th October 2023. Omer was a Masa alum. Omer's father, Eyal, read the Kaddish prayer on behalf of the bereaved families.

Second Sargent Rose Lubin Z"L: Combat soldier in the IDF, border police, killed in a stabbing attack in East Jerusalem on the 22nd of Cheshvan, November 6th, 2023. Rose fought and defended Kibbutz Sa'ad on October 7th. Rose was a Masa Alum.

Captain Denis Krokhmalov-Veksler Z"L: born in Ukraine. A combat engineering officer in the Yahalom Unit, Combat Engineering Corps, fell in combat in the central Gaza Strip at the age of 32. He fell on the 27th of Tevet, 5784 (January 8, 2024) as part of the Iron Swords war. Dennis was a Masa alum.

Dr. Daniel Levy: Born in Peru, on October 7th, he was called to assist the wounded at the clinic of Kibbutz Be'eri, while his wife and young children remained at home. After saving the lives of many injured, the supplies ran out, the terrorists broke in, and murdered Dr. Levi.

Dee Family: Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee Z"L, Passover 2023, terrorists opened fire on Israeli vehicles at the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley. In the car were Lucy (Leah) and her daughters, Maia and Rina Dee, all natives of England. As a result of the shooting, both daughters were pronounced dead at the scene, while Lucy was seriously injured. The doctors fought for her life, but three days later her death was confirmed.

The victims of the terror attack in the Amia, Jewish Center in Argentina, On July 18, 1994, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at the entrance of the Jewish community building (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A Lebanese terrorist detonated an explosive device hidden in a van, after breaking through the security barriers in the area and blowing himself up at the entrance of the building. The devastating attack resulted in 85 fatalities and 330 injuries.

Masa alumni and staff are honoring the memories of their fallen loved ones, including Captain Rebecca Henrietta Johanna Baruch Z"L (Netherlands), Master Sergeant (Res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot Z"L (Israel), Officer Andrei Poshibay Z"L (Crimea), Ezra Schwartz Z"L (United States), and Eli Kay Z"L (South Africa).

During the ceremony, family members of Nathan Leor Hai Z"L (France), who tragically fell on October 7th, will light the commemorative torch. In tribute, wreaths are being laid by bereaved families and representatives from the Israeli government and Knesset. Additionally, a mass prayer for the safe return of hostages is being carried, amongst them is Andrei Kozlov, a Masa alum from Russia who remains captive in Gaza after being kidnapped at the Nova music festival.

Yael Sahar Rubinstein, Acting CEO of Masa Israel Journey: “Yom HaZikaron, our Day of Remembrance, is essential to Israel and the Jewish people. At Masa it is extremely important to us that we recognize we are one people, wherever we are, and if there is anything to learn from these past months, it is that we need to stay united. United in remembering and honoring our fallen, and in mourning our losses, and united in prevailing. The stories shared here tonight are connected by the values of love, determination, sacrifice, and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. This ceremony is for us to focus on the heroes, cherish the world they left behind, and try to be worthy of their sacrifice. May their memory be a blessing”.

Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency: "On the eve of Memorial Day, we connect to the living memory of the fallen who linked their fate with the State of Israel, sacrificing their lives to defend and uphold it. The fallen include Olim from Jewish communities around the world who have stood by Israel in its toughest hour, expressing unconditional love and a deep shared destiny. Masa Israel Journey, an organization of The Jewish Agency, helps bring young people to Israel, connecting them to the Israeli story and serving as a living bridge between young people in Israel and those around the globe. We will remember the fallen of Israel's battles with respect, pain, longing, and gratitude, and we will do everything to be worthy of their sacrifice. Their legacy will be a monument and an inspiration to the world."