In The Will to Live On renowned author Herman Wouk describes his 1955 visit with David Ben Gurion in his home in the Negev. As Wouk gets ready to leave Ben Gurion addresses him. “You must return here to live. This is the only place for Jews like you. Here you will be free.”
Wouk , incredulous, answers “Free? With enemies ringing around you, with their leaders publicly threatening to wipe out ‘the Zionist entity,’ with your roads impassable after sundown – free?
To which Ben Gurion replies: “I did not say safe. I said free.”
On Yom YaZikaron, Israel, and those who cherish her, are reminded of the cost of freedom. Today we remember the 23.085 who have given their lives, so the Jewish people could live free in their ancient homeland. Today in Israel there are 17,553 bereaved families of security personnel, 2,324 orphans, and 4,964 widows of the IDF and the defense establishment, families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
At UC Berkeley Hillel a packed house assembled for a Yom HaZikaron service, filled with song, poems and prayers.
Watch Ifat Orgad and Shay Rachman sing Eli, Eli, at Berkeley Hillel. It was written by poet warrior Hannah Szenes, who also paid the ultimate price. She lost her life at age 23, captured and assassinated by the Nazis, after she left the relative safety of pre-state Israel in an effort to help the remaining Jews of Europe.