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Masa Israel Journey to Host the Largest English-Language Yom HaZikaron Ceremony

The ceremony will unite Jews and supporters of Israel from across the globe in remembrance of the victims of terror and the fallen Israeli soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the State of Israel.

On May 12 at 19:50 Israel time, the eve of Yom Hazikaron, Masa Israel Journey, an organization founded by the Jewish agency and the government of Israel and the leader in global Jewish and Israel-focused programming, will commemorate its 16th annual Yom HaZikaron ceremony at Yad L’Shiryon in Latrun, Israel. This event, the largest of its kind conducted in English, will host over 5,000 attendees and countless viewers worldwide, honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

This year’s observance of Yom HaZikaron comes at a particularly poignant time. Following the October 7th Massacre, the ongoing war, and the sharp rise in global Antisemitism, Israel and the global Jewish community have faced profound grief and shock. Under the theme “We Are One,” the ceremony will reflect our collective mourning and the resilience necessary to rebuild and maintain hope.

Notable attendees will include government representatives; Ron Dermer, minister of strategic affaires, Yossi Fuchs, Cabinet Secretary of the Government of Israel; and Jewish leaders like Rebecca Caspi, Senior VP, Global Operations & Director General, JFNA Israel; and Amira Ahronoviz, CEO and Director General, The Jewish Agency for Israel. In addition, Ambassador María Fabiana Loguzzo – Argentina’s Special Representative for the fight against Antisemitism and Head of Delegation to IHRA, will be accompanied at the ceremony by Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Latin America. They will join Masa Fellows and alumni, board members, Jewish Federation delegates, bereaved families, and community members in honoring the memory of those we have lost.

An photo from last year’s ceremony. (Credit Masa Israel Journey)

The ceremony will be live-streamed to a global audience with speeches by Major General (res.) Doron Almog, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Yael Sahar Rubinstein, Acting CEO of Masa Israel Journey.

This year’s ceremony will honor and share the stories of:

Rising Sergeant (posthumously) Omer Balva Z”L: America-born combat soldier in the IDF’s Nahal Brigade, who fell in battle on the northern border from Hezbollah fire. He fell on the 6th of Cheshvan, 20th October 2023. Omer was a Masa alumnus. Omer’s father, Eyal, read the Kaddish prayer on behalf of the bereaved families.

Second Sargeant Rose Lubin Z”L: Combat soldier in the IDF, border police, killed in a stabbing attack in East Jerusalem on the 22nd of Cheshvan, November 6th, 2023. Rose fought and defended Kibbutz Sa’ad on October 7th. Rose was a Masa Alumna.

Captain Denis Krukhamelov-Veksler Z”L: born in Ukraine. A combat engineering officer in the Yahalom Unit, Combat Engineering Corps, fell in combat in the central Gaza Strip at the age of 32. He fell on the 27th of Tevet, 5784 (January 8, 2024) as part of the Iron Swords war. Dennis was a Masa alumnus.

Dr. Daniel Levy: Born in Peru, on October 7th, he was called to assist the wounded at the clinic of Kibbutz Be’eri, while his wife and young children remained at home. After saving the lives of many injured, the supplies ran out, the terrorists broke in, and murdered Dr. Levi.

Dee Family: Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee Z”L, Passover 2023, terrorists opened fire on Israeli vehicles at the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley. In the car were Lucy (Leah) and her daughters, Maia and Rina Dee, all natives of England. As a result of the shooting, both daughters were pronounced dead at the scene, while Lucy was seriously injured. The doctors fought for her life, but three days later her death was confirmed.

●  The victims of the terror attack in the Amia, Jewish Center in Argentina, On July 18, 1994, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at the entrance of the Jewish community building (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A Lebanese terrorist detonated an explosive device hidden in a van, after breaking through the security barriers in the area and blowing himself up at the entrance of the building. The devastating attack resulted in 85 fatalities and 330 injuries.

Masa alumni and staff will honor the memories of their fallen loved ones, including Captain Rebecca Henrietta Johanna Baruch Z”L (Netherlands), Master Sergeant (Res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot Z”L (Israel), Officer Andrei Poshibay Z”L (Crimea), Ezra Schwartz Z”L (United States), and Eli Kay Z”L (South Africa).

During the ceremony, family members of Nathan Leor Hai Z”L (France), who tragically fell on October 7th, will light the commemorative torch. In tribute, wreaths will be laid by bereaved families and representatives from the Israeli government and Knesset. Additionally, a mass prayer for the safe return of hostages will be carried, amongst them is Andrei Kozlov, a Masa alum from Russia who remains captive in Gaza after being kidnapped at the Nova music festival.

Yael Sahar Rubinstein, Acting CEO of Masa Israel Journey: “Yom HaZikaron, our Day of Remembrance, is essential to Israel and the Jewish people. At Masa it is extremely important to us that we recognize we are one people, wherever we are, and if there is anything to learn from these past months, it is that we need to stay united. United in remembering and honoring our fallen, and in mourning our losses, and united in prevailing. The stories shared here tonight are connected by the values of love, determination, sacrifice, and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. This ceremony is for us to focus on the heroes, cherish the world they left behind, and try to be worthy of their sacrifice. May their memory be a blessing”.

For more information or to watch the live stream, visit Masa’s Facebook and YouTube.

About Masa Israel Journey: Masa Israel Journey is the largest immersive, long-term educational experience for young adults ages 16-40. 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 provider for global Jewry to access the finest Israeli businesses, social enterprises, and academic institutions. Since its 2004 founding by The Jewish Agency and government of Israel, Masa has served over 200,000 young people from more than 60 countries.

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