Jerusalem - For the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, an official state event was held in memory of the IDF’s Ultra-Orthodox soldiers.

Some 1,000 Israelis from the Ultra-Orthodox community gathered on Tuesday to honor the IDF soldiers from their community who served and died during service.

Member of Knesset Yaakov Margi, a member of the Ultra-Orthodox Shas faction who participated in the rally, said that “this is a historic day, and there is no turning back.”

The public recited Psalms and the Kaddish in memory of the fallen, sang the Hatikvah national anthem and concluded with the singing of Ani Ma’amin, I Believe.

The evening was attended  by Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, bereaved families, members of the Netzah Yehuda Association, Ultra-Orthodox soldiers and veterans, IDF representatives, rabbis and public figures.

The rally was initiated by the Netzach Yehuda Association, the guiding force behind Ultra-Orthodox enlistment to the IDF, in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the Haredi administration in the IDF.

Margi addressed the bereaved families and said that “there is no measure to the heavy debt that all of us, the citizens of the State of Israel, owe to the fallen and to you. This debt is our guiding light, we will not cease to strive for the peace that is eluding us.”

Speaking of the fallen, he said they were “all entire worlds, all dreams that were shelved, all love and longing, and all of them are grief and pain that never ends.”

Dudi Roth, the nephew of David Eliyahu First who fell in 1970 in the Neot Hakikar disaster in which 20 soldiers died in a landslide, sang together with his brother, Cantor Avremi Roth, the Av Harachamim, Father of the Mercy prayer.

“My grandmother waited for this event for 48 years, and only now it is happening, but she is no longer here to see it,” he said. Read more at VINnews