‘Glorious legacy’: Over 1,200 attend Memorial Day ceremony for fallen Haredi troops

Ministers, politicians, religious and military officials join bereaved families in Jerusalem to remember ultra-Orthodox soldiers of the IDF’s Haredi battalions

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Ultra-Orthodox soldiers stand on the stage at a Memorial Day service for fallen Haredi soldiers in Jerusalem, April 24, 2023. (Chaim Tovito)
Ultra-Orthodox soldiers stand on the stage at a Memorial Day service for fallen Haredi soldiers in Jerusalem, April 24, 2023. (Chaim Tovito)

Over 1,200 ultra-Orthodox community members participated in a Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday evening to commemorate Haredi soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces who died during their service.

Bereaved families were joined by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, Minister within the Education Ministry Haim Biton, Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, and other political, business and military figures.

The ceremony, now in its fifth year, was dedicated to remembering ultra-Orthodox troops of the IDF’s Haredi battalions. It was organized by the Netzah Yehuda Association, which helps Haredi soldiers in the military.

Biton, a member of the Shas party, told the crowd that the event “conveys unity and strength, along with preserving Jewish tradition.

“Unity is the keyword and the answer to our enemies who wish to consume us,” he added.

Yossi Levy, CEO of Netzah Yehuda, said the evening was a place “where all sectors of the people of Israel, religious and traditional, pure Torah scholars alongside holy soldiers come together to bear the burden of bereavement.”

“The Haredi public is no longer left behind. It participates in the memory of the IDF soldiers in a respectful and appropriate manner and in the spirit of the Torah,” he added.

Udi Dror, head of the Division for Recruitment and religious service tracks at the Defense Ministry, expressed his appreciation for families who carry “great pain” over their losses.

“Your sons, our dear fallen soldiers who fell in sacrifice and holiness, left a glorious legacy. The Haredi soldiers and commanders continue their journey as God-fearing Jews who believe in the way of the Torah and mitzvot,” he said in his speech.

Traditionally, many ultra-Orthodox have been reluctant in the past to identify with the State of Israel due to its secular government, among other reasons. Some sects are non-Zionist or even anti-Zionist.

Israel came to a standstill for two minutes on Tuesday to commemorate the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.

During the events, the nation stops to commemorate the 24,213 killed in service to the state and the pre-state Jewish community and the 4,255 victims of terror.

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