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Remembrance Day: Bereaved IDF orphans fight for rights, recognition

CM 12/04/2021 1

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“The Organization of IDF Orphans – Choosing Life” is the name of the organization run exclusively by individuals orphaned by the IDF to advocate for the rights of these individuals and their families. The organization will launch on the eve of Remembrance Day, Tuesday night. Remembrance Day hits home hard for all Israelis, but especially hard for those orphaned to IDF service members over the years. The goal of the organization is to advocate for the rights, support and recognition of these individuals as bereaved families by the State of Israel. The organization, run by IDF orphans, is run on a purely-volunteer basis “to preserve the stories and lives of their fathers and mothers who fell in their line of duty,” a press release reads. The law, as it currently stands, and has stood since 1950, does not recognize the children – 21 years and older – of fallen soldiers as “bereaved;” that title is reserved for the parents and spouse.Back in October, then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the recognition of people who were orphaned, granting them the proper certifications, and bestowing their long-awaited benefits. However, the organization’s website explains, many of these benefits and recognitions are limited by age.

Though the organization will officially be launched this, they have been unofficially conducting programming over the last few years. One of their programs is called “Continuing in Their Path” which brings IDF orphans to local high schools to tell their stories and the stories of their parents. A special emphasis placed on the orphans’ active choice to live meaningful and passionate lives shaped by their personal tragedy. “Continuing in Their Path” is in its third year of operation. One woman, Ruth Mashat, lost her father Lt. Shmuel Botreno at only three months old. She now is one of the founders and brains behind the operation. Botreno was born in Austria in 1948, emigrating to Israel with his family that same year. He wrote extensively about his passion for the state, the people of Israel and the land. Boterno drafted to the Paratroopers Brigade in 1966, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After getting released, he got married and had a daughter, Ruth. When he returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a commander, his unit was hit hard by an enemy force in the Golan Heights, and he worked hard to restore morale. He was seriously injured, and eventually passed away from his wounds on February 4, 1972. Mashat has been working to secure government recognition of those who are orphans of the fallen of the IDF. The digital coordinator of the organization is Michal Dayan Talker, an IDF orphan herself, who lost her father, Chief Warrant Officer Klimo Dayan, when she was four years old. He was born in Tripoli in 1944, and made aliyah with his grandparents when he was four-years-old, in 1948. He drafted to the IDF’s Armored Corps in 1962, and married his wife, Shoshana, in 1976. They eventually had two sons and one daughter, Michal. He passed away on February 24, 1985.

Find out more about the organization and what they do
Source: Jerusalem Post

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