Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were killed earlier this month in a Palestinian terror attack, tendered his well-wishes to all bereaved families in Israel on Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron.
Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, were murdered in an April 7 shooting on the Route 57 highway near the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley. Their mother, Lucy Dee, 48, who was riding in the same car with them that day, succumbed to her wounds days later on April 10. She was buried on April 11.
“I’ve been told that Yom Hazikaron this year is not going to be a time for unity of the Jewish people and that some people are planning protests or political rallies at ceremonies around the country,” said Dee in a video released on Monday night.
“And I want to tell you something: I speak for the bereaved families, being one of the most recent, and I can tell you from all of these other families that I met recently at the shiva, we want one thing, we want unity. We want the memory of our families we lost through terror and through fighting those many wars for the State of Israel to be remembered and to be respected.
“And the way to do that is to do exactly what we’ve done every year in Israel. … I am certain that all of us can remember their holy souls for the years to come with respect and love that brings us all together as a nation,” added Dee.
Israel began marking Memorial Day on Monday night as a one-minute commemorative siren sounded across the country. Commemorations are taking place at 52 military cemeteries and memorial sites on Tuesday.
Fifty-nine Israeli soldiers fell in the line of duty in the past year, and an additional 86 disabled veterans died due to their condition. Overall, 24,213 soldiers have lost their lives in service to the nation since 1860 and there have been 4,255 victims of Arab terror since 1851.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on citizens to put aside differences, especially as it relates to the debate over the government’s judicial reform initiative, for one day, as the country finds common cause in mourning its heroes.
“[As] we fix our gaze on the military sections in the cemeteries, every headstone there tells the story of a life that was cut short. The unity of silent bereavement in the cemeteries cries out to us at this time. Our loved ones who fell, our loved ones who paid for our revival with their lives, did so for us—and we must stand together for them, united, in order to be worthy of their sacrifice,” said the premier.
Leo Dee has been chosen to recite the Yizkor memorial prayer at Israel’s main ceremony on Tuesday night marking the start of the state’s 75th Independence Day.