After being denied the ability to visit their fallen loved ones in military cemeteries last year due to coronavirus restrictions, Defense Minister Benny Gantz is calling on bereaved families to attended Memorial Day ceremonies next week.
According to the agreed-upon outlines, nuclear families will be allowed to enter military cemeteries on Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of the Wars of Israel and Victims of Actions of Terrorism, which will take place next Wednesday, April 14.
In a conference call with reporters, Gantz stressed that due to last year’s strict restrictions – in which families were prevented from entering cemeteries in a move that drew severe criticism by the Israeli public – he called on the public and the political system to encourage families to attend ceremonies.
“I hope that in such a political system, we could manage to keep national remembrance above politics,” Gantz said. “This is the right thing to do, and I believe that this is what will happen.”
Gantz added that this year, there will be “moderate enforcement” of coronavirus restrictions in military cemeteries, which will make it easier for bereaved families to pay respect to their loved ones.
The major ceremonies at the Western Wall, the National Hall For Israel’s Fallen in Mount Herzl and in Yad LaBanim Memorial Center in Jerusalem are set to take place on Memorial Day eve, Tuesday, April 13. According to the agreed-upon outline, attendance will be restricted to Green Pass holders. Only people with a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery will be allowed to attend the ceremonies.
Arieh Moalem, deputy director of the Defense Ministry’s Family, Memorial and Heritage Department, said that only 5,000 people will be allowed to attend the Western Wall ceremony.
However, ceremonies on the day itself, which will take place in the cemeteries, will not be limited to the Green Pass.
Moalem added that he calls on the public – who are not bereaved families – not to attend ceremonies in cemeteries on Memorial Day.
“We call on the wider public to visit the cemeteries on the week before Memorial Day, from April 9 to 13,” he said. “We call this week Memorial and Remembrance Week, and we call on the public to come and honor the memory of the fallen soldiers. They are invited to come, lay a wreath, light a candle and honor their memory.”
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