On the eve of Yom HaZikaron, a day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, Masa Israel Journey is hosting its 14th annual Yom HaZikaron Ceremony in Latrun, Israel. The event will commence on May 3 at 8 p.m. Israel Standard Time (1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PST) and will be live-streamed on Masa’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Masa’s ceremony is the largest English-speaking Yom HaZikaron ceremony broadcast from Israel to a global audience. Hosted annually in Latrun, the program returns to its in-person format this year and features speeches from prominent Israeli government officials, Jewish leaders, Masa alumni, and individuals with touching personal stories. Hundreds of thousands of viewers are expected to tune in including Masa Fellows and alumni, Jewish community leaders, and members of Jewish communities from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines, the former Soviet Union, and more.

The theme of this year’s ceremony is “These Are Our Stories” in recognition of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror in Israel and in Jewish communities outside of Israel who left behind a legacy of values, identity, and sacrifice. Throughout the ceremony, stories of the fallen will be shared alongside video documentaries and other multimedia presentations crafted specifically for the ceremony.

In addition to the ceremony, Masa is providing an opportunity for Fellows, alumni, and individuals from around the world to commemorate fallen soldiers and victims of terror through a virtual candle lighting. One may light a virtual Yitzkor candle alongside millions of other participants by visiting Masa’s website and submitting a short form.

Each year, over 12,000 Masa Fellows embark on immersive, long-term programs in Israel to advance their personal and professional journeys. Fellows often describe Masa’s Yom Hazikaron Ceremony as one of the most significant moments of their experience. This year, thousands of Fellows and alumni will gather in Latrun, in cities throughout Israel, and around the world to watch the ceremony and honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror in Israel and Jewish communities.

Nachman Shai, Minister of Diaspora Affairs; Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency; Amira Ahronoviz, CEO and Director General of The Jewish Agency; Sam Grundwar, Chairman of the World Board of Trustees of Keren Hayesod; and Becky Caspi, Senior Vice President for Global Operations of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Director General of JFNA’s Israel office will attend the ceremony.

Bereaved families from global Jewish communities are an integral part of the ceremony. This year’s ceremony will share the stories of:

  • Elijah (Eli) Kay z”l, a South African former lone soldier who was murdered by a terrorist in Jerusalem shortly after being released from the IDF
  • Dan Uzan z”l, a security guard who was killed while defending a synagogue in Copenhagen
  • David Solomonov z”l, a sniper from the United States who fell near the Lebanese border defending his comrades
  • Amichai & Barak Itkis z”l, brothers from Mexico City who fell in the line of duty
  • Ilona Hanukkah z”l, an IDF mechanic from Russia who was murdered by terrorists
  • Marla Bennett z”l, a student from the United States who was murdered in a terrorist attack at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
  • Jordan Ben Simon z”l, a lone soldier from France who fell during Operation Protective Edge

The families and friends of the fallen will attend and participate in the ceremony, keeping the memories of their loved ones alive. Elijah Kay’s z”l brother Chanan Kay will light a torch in uniform to honor his brother and David Solomonov’s z”l father Mordechai Solomonov will say kaddish at the ceremony. Against the backdrop of international flags representing Jewish communities around the world, members of Masa’s global community and global Jewish leaders will lay memorial wreaths and light candles to honor all of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

“This year’s Yom HaZikaron Ceremony comes at a time of tragedy and resilience for Israel and the global Jewish community,” said Masa CEO Ofer Gutman. “During times like these, we take solace in being able to finally reunite with our community during this heartfelt memorial which will demonstrate the connectedness of the Jewish world through our shared stories. We are one people, and our strength comes from our unity.”

About The Publishers
Masa Israel Journey
Masa Israel Journey is the largest immersive, long-term educational experience for young adults ages 16-35. On its programs that range from two months to a year, Masa offers an authentic, unmediated and challenging journey into Israeli society, culture, politics and history – and acts as the largest pipeline for the Jewish Diaspora to access the finest Israeli businesses, social enterprises and academic institutions. Since its 2004 founding by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and The Jewish Agency, Masa has served over 170,000 young people from more than 60 countries.
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