Yom Hazikaron / Yom Ha’atzmaut

In this Shelley Shares, I want to demonstrate how WIZO South Africa is related in some form or another to Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. In order to do so, I will say a few words explaining what we have been commemorating. Last week we commemorated Yom Hashoah, Remembrance Day of the Holocaust and Heroism.  We remember and honour the six million Jewish people that perished in the Holocaust and we recognise the accomplishments of the survivors.  It is a tragedy that we will never forget!

This week, we commemorate Yom HaZikaron, the National Day of Remembrance in Israel.  This day is marked by the observance of silence and respect for the over 24 000 martyrs and soldiers who lost their lives defending the State of Israel. We also remember the  4,000 civilian victims of terrorism.  The fact that there is such a day to memorialise such a thing, is abominable.  So many Jewish people have lost their lives in order that the State of Israel can exist. In light of this, we mourn and remember our fallen soldiers and all the lives lost by terror and we pray that no more blood will be shed.  

Israeli activist and poet Anat Hoffman wrote the following entitled “A Prayer for Israel“.  The following excepts are relevant both to Israel and to our WIZO:

In this sacred moment, give us hope for Israel and her future. 

Renew our wonder at the miracle of the Jewish State.

In the name of our fallen soldiers – give us courage to stand up to the words and ways of zealots. Those in our own midst and those among our neighbours.

In the name of all these women and men – grant us the strength to conquer doubt and despair in Israel.

How does the above relate to WIZO? Our NEVE WIZO houses of Safety ensure that abused women and children in Israel are given the care that they need after all the physical and emotional pain that they have experienced.  WIZO safeguards those women to stop the perpetuation of violence and to give them the opportunity to move forward.  These rehabilitative homes have been established to prevent what could be more possible deaths from domestic violence and to help those who are suffering from the emotional pain and negative experience in a home that has no peace.  This gives us the hope and strength to continue to support and fight for Israel and our WIZO.  

Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for the fallen soldiers precedes Yom Ha’Atzmaut. The message of linking these two days together is clear: Israelis owe their independence; their very existence of the State of Israel to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it.  Then, on the following day, Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we have the joyous celebration of the independence and establishment of the State of Israel.  

Sadly, there has been a wave of terror that has been raining down on Israel.  In the last few months, 19 innocent people have been murdered in terror attacks across Israel.  Their freedom was taken from them as they were stabbed, gunned down or run over while simply going about their daily lives.  WIZO ensures that the unnecessary deaths of women from abusive environments is avoided by coming to the aid of those women who need us most and by providing them a safe haven to become independent once again!  

Israel is a strong country and unfortunately not strangers to this kind of violence.  When all of Israel hurts, we hurt with them.  We grieve with all those affected and mourn the senseless loss of life hoping that the end to all this atrocity is in sight soon.

But …. we persevere, we forge ahead and on Yom Ha’atmaut the streets of Israel are closed and Israelis sing and dance and wave Israeli flags. Here, in the diaspora, we express solidarity with Israel and participate in Israel-related programs and events.  Making a donation or volunteering your time to our WIZO will go a long way in supporting our life preserving NEVE WIZO houses of safety.  This will ensure the longevity of our homes as we continue to live the history and legacy of our past and deal with the challenge of the future of our Israel.

Thank you all for your support and love for both WIZO and our Israel.

Warm regards


Shelley Trope-Friedman

President WIZO South Africa