Special Yizkor text to regain its role next Memorial Day (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Gili Cohen 05/17/12)
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Defense officials plan to recommend that the Yizkor text that was the
subject of a dispute last year be officially included in Memorial Day
services at military cemeteries.
The dispute centered around whether the words "Yizkor Elohim" ("May
God remember" ) or "Yizkor Am Yisrael" ("May the nation of Israel
remember" ) should be used. In the end, the second version won out.
The decision to officially recommend the text was made after the
text - either version - was omitted from many Memorial Day ceremonies
this year, apparently due to confusion after last year´s debate.
Though the Yizkor text for fallen soldiers is modeled after the
traditional Yizkor memorial prayer, it is not a prayer, but a text
penned by Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson in the 1920s. It was
never a required element in military memorial services, though it was
read at many services.
Last year a debate erupted over a version recited in military
cemeteries, which began with "Yizkor Elohim," although Katznelson´s
original version began with "Yizkor Am Yisrael." The change, made
after the Six-Day War by IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, raised no
complaints until last year, when a secular bereaved mother raised the
issue and the media picked up on it.
A committee appointed by Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ruled in August
that the original version beginning with "Yizkor Am Yisrael" be used.
But instead the text was dropped from many of this year´s memorial
services, to the consternation of many bereaved families, who filed
complaints with the IDF.
The recommendation to officially include the text will be presented
to the Public Council for Soldiers´ Commemoration, which helps set
Memorial Day traditions. It will then be submitted for the approval
of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/17/12)
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