Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing: Your 15-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world, from Sunday through Thursday.
Today’s panel comprises military reporter Judah Ari Gross and the editor-in-chief of ToI’s Hebrew-language sister site, Zman Yisrael, Biranit Goren, along with host Amanda Borschel-Dan.
Today is Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Hostile Acts, and we recognize the 23,928 who gave up their lives for the Jewish state. We discuss how this number is reckoned from before the foundation of the State of Israel and how this year compares with previous years.
The wounds of war go well beyond the victims who fell in battle. Veteran Golani soldier Itzik Saidyan, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-immolated this week in protest of an ongoing bureaucratic battle over his disability stipend. Gross discusses what the IDF is doing to prevent further cases and to offer timely treatment to those in need.
At sunset the country will transition from a day of deep mourning to 24 hours of celebrating Israel’s independence. Goren explains how this abrupt transition historically evolved, and how it feels to be a sabra celebrating the two days next to each other.
Finally, Goren discusses two special features that will appear on her Zman Yisrael site tomorrow: a series of dozens of personal essays along a chronological timeline for the “This is Our Israel” project and a special interview with 91-year-old Yael Medini, the daughter of Israel’s second prime minister, Moshe Sharett.