IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
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Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz yesterday appointed Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yishai Be'er head of a team charged with examining the Yizkor prayer said at military memorial ceremonies for Israel's fallen soldiers. The move follows the public uproar that grew from a Haaretz report that Gantz had issued a letter saying the memorial prayer must start with "May God remember his sons and daughters" instead of "May the people of Israel remember." The controversy has been going on for years, touching on deeply held opposing views of religious and secular groups of parents.

A General Staff order from 1967 stipulated "May God remember" was the binding version, but it was never enforced and many ceremony hosts all over the country stuck to the traditional "May the people of Israel remember." The bureau of the chief of staff replied to a recent query from former TV journalist Menashe Raz, which reawakened the argument and Gantz stepped in to resolve the issue.

Be'er retired from the IDF more than a year ago. A law professor, he graduated from the Jerusalem high school yeshiva Netiv Meir and is dean of the law faculty at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. He has also served as president of the Israeli Military Court of Appeals. Be'er is seen as moderate in his opinions on state and religion issues. The team is to submit its recommendations to Gantz.