Every year the IDF continues to honor the memory of those who were killed during the Holocaust and remembers their sacrifice, as well as cherishing those survivors who are living among us and their contribution to the the State of Israel.
Among the many programs that the IDF undertakes each year is the “Flower for a Survivor” project, a special program where soldiers pair up and visit Holocaust survivors in honor of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day In Israel.
The day, commemorated on the Hebrew date of the 17th of Nissan (this year, the eve of April 27, 2014), is the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Holocaust Remembrance Day honors both the victims of the Nazi regime and those who opposed it. The day of remembrance begins the evening before, with a one minute siren that sounds throughout the country.
Soldiers from all around the country take part and visit Holocaust survivors, hear their stories, and present them with marks of appreciation. The “Flower for a Survivor” project has been ongoing for several years and each year more and more soldiers get the chance to meet survivors, approximately 200,000 of which currently live in Israel.
The IDF attributes high value on commemorating the Holocaust and other periods of Jewish struggle throughout the ages. This, in part, is because the IDF draws inspiration from the events of Jewish and Israeli history, of which the Holocaust is a significant part.
Israel was founded to function as a home, a refuge, for the Jewish people, the same people who were persecuted for thousands of years in diaspora, the harshest period of which was the Holocaust which occurred a few scant years before the creation of the State of Israel.
The IDF, as the Israeli army, sees its mission as protecting and defending Israel and its citizens, and has sworn to do so. It is one of the most advanced militaries in the world and continually thwarts any and all attempts to harm Israeli civilians.
Many activities are being carried out throughout the year to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust, from weekly volunteer work with survivors to the “Witnesses in Uniform” program which sends IDF officers and soldiers on educational trips to Poland to learn more about the Holocaust. It is a standing rule in Israel that any foreign general on an official visit to Israel must visit Yad Vashem, the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.