At the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday morning, ט' בניסן brought for Cabinet approval, the opening of the 'Our IDF' exhibition in Jerusalem at an overall cost of 8 million shekel.
The "Our IDF" exhibition was originally shown in Holon during the festivities to mark 70 years of the State of Israel. In light of its success and with the government financial assistance, the exhibition will be reopened in Jerusalem in order for it to be seen by as many visitors as possible. The exhibition will present the technological development of the IDF, its units and its combat heritage, and will do so with the aid of advanced technological means. The exhibit will include all arms and commands of the IDF, will present the book of IDF values, and include a memorial corner.
Sunday evening, Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan, heads of Mossad and branches of IDF, and police, attended an event at the Jerusalem International Conference Center to 'Honor Fallen' soldiers. Families of fallen soldiers filled the main auditorium, while a screen projected the event in lobby.
Both the President and Prime Minister received a warm welcome as they entered and took their seats in the center section of the auditorium. Audience members reached for selfies and to hug the dignitaries as they entered the auditorium. The program began with the singing of Hatikvah and a short video, followed by speeches and music.
The president began his speech addressing the bereaved families and said: "The life of a bereaved family can be divided into two parts. Life before the bereavement knock at the door, and life after. There is a hole, you can not re-fill it. Everyone who is here today, knows well the reality of tears, the abyss of grief, and how severe the pain. "
The president added: "Your sons and daughters were the best sons and daughters. With you, I learn the values which have followed, volunteerism, friendship, sense of mission and giving. love of country, and love of mankind. And I pray that perhaps what brought them together in the trenches, and ambushes during the war and during the battle unite us. Anyone, any of the boys and girls, was the whole world, every bereaved family - is a whole world. I make sure to meet with the families, not just on memorial day. I'm amazed: your standing, your struggle everyday, your remarkable ability to continue to grow, and move forward. Cling to life. You inspire us all. We salute fallen heroes, and we salute you."
The President referred to the bringing of Zachary Baumel z"l for burial in Israel, and said: "No country in the world is committed to the root of the soul to do everything, everything, for fallen fighters killed in battle. No other country embraces the families of the fallen like the hug we give you...You are an integral part of our national strength. You give us the strength to go forward."
Netanyahu mentioned in his remarks the 50th yahrezheit of Reb Aryeh Levine z"l, and also acknowledged those who fallen over the years, and their families. "Only if we stand as a fortified wall against those who seek our ill and are willing to act at personal risk in time of need, can we – with G-d's help – ensure the eternity of Israel.
We are determined to defend our land – even in the face of our greatest and bitterest of foes, who inscribe our destruction on their banners. We are not deterred by struggle, knowing that we fight against those who seek our lives. Our spirit is strong, our strength is steadfast.
We do not rush to battle. Who like us knows that the cost of war is terrible? But let no one misunderstand us – when the security of Israel is at stake, we act with all our strength. Whoever puts us in danger puts himself in far greater danger.
We will continue to act on all fronts, including in the north, because we are not prepared to allow anybody to entrench in strength and endanger the State of Israel. Strength is the guarantee of our existence, and it is the essential and fundamental condition in achieving peace with our neighbors."