Several hundred Jewish Agency for Israel employees, and dignitaries marked Yom HaZikaron - Israel Memorial Day – on Monday, at a ceremony honoring the hundreds of Jews killed in anti-Semitic attacks around the world. As the arm that connects the Jewish People to Israel, every year, the ceremony honors a victim of anti-Semitic brutality by inviting their families to light a torch in their memory,
Ruth and Professor Judea Pearl, the parents of the late American Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl of blessed memory, who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in January, 2002, lit the memorial flame at the commemoration, which was held at the entrance plaza of The Jewish Agency and National Institutions Compound in Jerusalem.
Daniel Pearl’s two sisters, his wife Mariane, and his son Adam who was born several months after his father’s murder also took part on the memorial.
“This is one united front in which we stand shoulder to shoulder with IDF soldiers and the entire Jewish people," Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, said in his address.
“We want to remember all the Jews who were killed in different countries around the world because of their pride as Jews and their connection to the State of Israel," Sharansky said.
"When those who hate us seek to attack Jews, they view Israel as the target. When our enemies attempt to attack Israel but don’t succeed they attack Jewish communities around the world. So it was in Argentina (in the July 1994 bomb blast that killed 85 and wounded hundreds at the AMIA cultural center in Buenos Aires) and also a year ago in Toulouse," Sharansky pointed out.
"Daniel Pearl travelled to Pakistan as an American journalist, but when he was kidnapped by terrorists his last words were: ‘I am a Jew, my father is a Jew and my mother is a Jew. My family is Jewish and we are connected to Israel,'" Sharansky recalled. "These words give inspiration to numerous Jews around the world who are proud of their Judaism and their connection to Israel.”
Professor Judea Pearl said at the ceremony: “I represent three generations of victims of hatred: My grandfather and grandmother were killed in Auschwitz, I was saved by a miracle from genocide in 1948, and the murder of our son Daniel marks the latest round of victims of xenophobia."
"I want to tell my grandson who is here today that his father’s murder caused a revolution in our society’s struggle against barbarism. The notion of absolute good and bad was almost erased, but was reborn with the murder of Daniel in Pakistan," Pearl said.
"The last words of my son were: 'My father is Jewish; my mother is Jewish; I am Jewish,' Pearl said. "For 11 years I have prayed for the moment that I would have the honor to read Daniel’s words in Jerusalem, the city where he celebrated his bar mitzvah. Today I can realize that privilege by lighting the memorial flame here in Jerusalem. This is a memorial flame, but it is also the flame of Jewish pride and a collective pledge that terror and evil will never be victorious and that our grandchildren will enjoy a better world.”
Daniel Pearl, a 38-year-old American Jew who also held Israel citizenship, was working as the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal when he was abducted by militant Islamic fundamentalists, while researching a story in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl's captors beheaded him nine days after his abduction.
Recently, a former leader of the outlawed terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was arrested in suspicion of involvement in Pearl’s murder.
The ceremony was organized by The Agency in partnership with the World Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.