Bereaved families and current commanders commemorate fallen soldiers

In honor of Hanukkah, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo and commanders of the Givati Brigade held a traditional candle lighting with the family members of fallen soldiers

Date: 17/12/2012, 4:33 PM     Author: Noam Witman, IDF (Zahal) Website

Last week, bereaved families of fallen soldiers from the Givati Brigade gathered together in honor of Hanukkah. For the 22nd consecutive year, families met with past and present commanders from the Givati Brigade for traditional candle lighting. Head of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo and Head of the Home Front Command Eyal Eizenberg were also in attendance.

“Hanukkah is a family holiday, and here we have a very large family. I have known the special familial atmosphere of Givati ever since I served as a commander of the brigade 20 years ago, and I still feel it today,” said Maj. Gen. Russo at the ceremony.

In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Russo also referred to Operation Pillar of Defense. “The Givati Brigade was the first brigade ready to enter,” said Maj. Gen. Russo. “During the operation we once again saw the strength of the Israeli society during difficult times. Resilience is the foundation of our people’s strength. Even at this moment, our soldiers are on guard and defending the villages, allowing children to celebrate the holiday in safety.

“The concurrence of the end of Operation Pillar of Defense with Hanukkah is a special one,” Maj. Gen. Russo said, “ultimately, the existence of this kind of event is an important part of our embracing the bereaved families–it is of extraordinary value.”

The current commander, Col. Ofer Levi said that “it is important for us to also meet the families on joyous occasions, and we try to maintain the relationship with them, which is important and brings strength both to us and the families.”

Maj. Gen. Russo also spoke of the construction of that security fence along the Egyptian-Israeli border. “We are continuing to accelerate the building on the western border and in the coming days are completing the sealing of the border up to the area surrounding Eilat. In the past year we witnessed an escalation in attempted attacks by terror organizations in the Gaza sector and the western border of the State of Israel.” He added that “in all of the events we had the upper hand in demonstrating determination, courage, and striving for first contact.”