Bereaved parents protest Im Tirtzu's 'Yizkor'
A group of bereaved parents who lost children in military operations or terrorist attacks sent a letter to the chief rabbis yesterday asking them to condemn the distortion of the "Yizkor" prayer by the Im Tirtzu movement.
Earlier this week, Im Tirtzu distributed 15,000 copies of their own version of the memorial prayer to synagogues across the country. The leaflets contained an additional line, written to resemble the style of the prayer, that attacked left-wing activists.
"Let the people of Israel remember those from within it, flesh of their flesh, who participated in accusations against its officers and soldiers," the Im Tirtzu version of the prayer read. "Those who during the battle to defend Israel attended protests and called their soldiers war criminals. Remember those who in darkness joined with Israel's worst enemies in order to harm the martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the nation."
The movement later clarified that it specifically meant the New Israel Fund, which it had targeted in a campaign some months ago.
In response, a group of bereaved parents approached the Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis and the Israel Defense Forces' chief rabbi and asked them to publicly condemn the Im Tirtzu text.
"We, a group of parents who lost children to terrorist attacks or to military service, were appalled to hear recently of the cynical, political usage made of the Yizkor prayer by Im Tirtzu," the letter read. "The prayer, which commemorates the IDF dead and the victims of terrorism, is said in synagogues and is meant to be a link between the living and the death of our loved ones, an expression of appreciation for their lives and the creation of a common denominator of life around the horrific tragedy of their death.
"How can anyone conceive of changing a prayer based on long tradition, all because of a political disagreement?" the parents wrote. "We strongly protest the desecration of the memory of our loved ones."
The letter's signatories included Aharon Barnea, whose son Noam was killed in South Lebanon in 1999; Rami Elhanan, whose daughter Smadar was killed in a bombing in Jerusalem in 1997; Margalit Gordon, whose daughter Tali was killed in the 1996 bombing at Dizengoff Center; Yigal and Tzurit Sarig, whose border policeman son Guy was murdered near Tul Karm in 1996; Tzfira Yonatan, who lost her son Lior in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; Nira Lavie, whose son Haggai was murdered in a terrorist attack near Taibeh in 1995; Tamara and Jimmy Rabinovich, whose son Idor was killed by IDF fire during a hang-glider attack by terrorists in 1987; and Tzvika Shahak-Pozis, whose daughter Bat-Chen was killed in the Dizengoff Center bombing.