The Shmooze

Yizkor Prayer Controversy Spreads Through Facebook

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Some Facebook users have recently been posting things like, “I thought Yom HaZikaron was last month” or “Yom HaZikaron again so soon?” as their statuses. It’s not because they don’t know that Israel’s Memorial Day takes place the day before Israel’s Independence Day, but rather because of all the “Yizkor” candle icons they have been seeing on their social media newsfeeds.

These icons are for a link to a petition protesting a proposed change to the wording of the remembrance prayer recited at IDF memorial ceremonies. Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens, many of them bereaved parents like Yehudit Bialer, the author of the petition, are up in arms against the possible switching of “Israel remembers its sons and daughters” to “God remembers His sons and daughters.” As Philologos discusses in his column this week, the commonly used “Israel” version dates to early the early independence era and uses text for the prayer written by Zionist intellectual leader Berl Katznelson in 1920.

Yehudit Bialer, the mother of Yoram Bialer, who fell in 1969 at the age of 21 during the War of Attrition with Egypt, begins her petition with, “It is important for me to know that the nation to which he belonged and which he loved, will remember him. Neither Yoram nor I have any relationship with God. Therefore, I vehemently oppose the changing of the wording “The nation of Israel remembers…”

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