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Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha'Atzma'ut 2024

Happy Independence Day!

Dear Friends,

Today is Israel's Yom HaZikaron, or Memorial Day. Israelis observe this  solemn day in honor of all those who have died in defense of the Jewish  State, and the civilians who have been murdered by terrorists since the  rebirth of Israel in 1948. It is important to note that all those who  lost their lives did so simply because they were Jews who wanted to live  in peace in their ancient homeland. 

Every year, Yom HaZikaron is a sad reminder of the cost of having a  Jewish state. However, this year's Memorial Day will be unlike any  other in Israel's history because it is the first since Hamas terrorists  invaded on October 7th - raping, torturing, murdering and pillaging  their way through Jewish communities established to promote peace and  coexistence.

According  to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, as of May 9th, 1,594 Israeli  soldiers and civilians have died since last year's Memorial Day. This  includes 760 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, most of whom were killed on  or since October 7th, and 834 civilians. 822 of those civilians were  murdered on or after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas.

This  shocking number of deaths is high by any standard, but it is extremely  high relative to the total population of Israel. It is also quite  significant in light of the fact that literally every Israeli citizen  has been personally impacted by one or more of these deaths.

The somber observance of Memorial Day ends this evening and the joyous  celebration of Yom HaAtzma'ut - Independence Day - begins immediately.  Israelis go from the mourning of Yom HaZikaron to the joy of celebrating  the existence of Israel in just one day. The juxtaposition of these two  days is a poignant reminder of the fact that Israel's existence is  completely dependent on the sacrifice of the fallen. Indeed, there could  be no celebration of Independence Day without those who have given  their lives in defense of the Jewish State.

In  light of the recent atrocities committed against Jewish women,  children, men and elderly, this year's celebration of Independence  Day affirms more than ever the absolute necessity of the Jewish State.  The reality is that for 76 years, Israel's existence has ensured that  Jews have the means to defend themselves against those who intend to  annihilate them.

Yom  Ha'Atzma'ut is traditionally a day of festivities, during which the  entire country celebrates the rebirth of the Jewish State in 1948.  However, in light of what happened on October 7th, this year's  observance can't help but be different for so many who are still trying  to recover and rebuild after the atrocities and loss of that day.  Furthermore, the joy of Independence Day will also be mingled with  ongoing concern over the unknown fate of 132 hostages still held captive  in Gaza.  

In spite of the difficulty of celebrating under the current  circumstances, leading rabbis have called on the Israeli public to  rejoice this Independence Day in order to send a clear message to  Israel's enemies whose goal is to prevent the Jewish people from  rejoicing. Remember, the terrorist attack on October 7th occurred on  Simchat Torah - the holiday on which the Jewish people celebrate God's  gift of the Torah. In other words, the events of October 7th were an  intentional attack on the people's joy.

So,  as an act of resistance to terrorists who chose a holiday of joy to  commit horrific atrocities, thereby attempting to desecrate that  holiday, Israelis are encouraged to celebrate this Independence Day in  order to defeat their enemies' intention to steal that joy and weaken  the existence of the Jewish State. Israel has known for decades how to  go from the mourning of Memorial Day to the joy of Independence Day. But  this year, it is more important than ever to do so!

Therefore, in agreement with the rabbis, and in complete support of  Israel's right to exist and defend itself against all those who intend  to annihilate it, CAMERA's Partnership of Christians and Jews joins with  Israel in celebrating the 76th anniversary of the rebirth of the Jewish  State!

Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!

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