This morning, on September 11th, 2017, as the world commemorates sixteen years since the terror attacks in the United States, the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), together with JNF-USA and the US Embassy in Israel, held its annual memorial ceremony at the 9/11 Living Memorial site in the Arazim Valley of Jerusalem, to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Among the distinguished guests attending the ceremony were US Ambassador to Israel, H.E. David Friedman, and his wife, Mrs. Tammy Friedman; Chairman of the opposition, the Honorable MK Isaac Herzog; Governor of Iowa, Mrs. Kimberly Reynolds; KKL-JNF CEO, Mr. Amnon Ben-Ami, and others.
The ceremony was attended by families of the Israeli victims, senior members of StandWithUs, a delegation of 50 US police officers, delegations of US and Israeli firefighters, pilots from United Airlines. Additional groups arrived from the United States especially for the ceremony, including a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League, representatives from JNF-USA and Nefesh B’Nefesh, and representatives from Heroes to Heroes, a peer support program for combat veterans from both Israel and the United States.
US Ambassador to Israel, H.E. David Friedman, said that "It is so fitting that the State of Israel is the only foreign nation to erect a 9/11 memorial which includes the name of every victim lost on that tragic day. Israel and the United States forever will be joined in the battle against, and ultimately the defeat of, radical Islamic terrorism."
KKL-JNF CEO, Mr. Amnon Ben-Ami, spoke of the significance of the Living Memorial site, “This monument, established by the KKL-JNF, illustrates the shared fate of the United States and the state of Israel, two nations who stand together in the face of radicalism. The strategic alliance between our two countries is founded on the same values that terrorism is out to destroy – progress, prosperity, morality and peace. For this reason, we must promise that this kind of event will never repeat itself; we must promise to fight against the forces of evil and oppression, together with our allies, for the sake of the entire world.”
"The attacks of 9/11 were not only an attack on the US, they were an attack on the values of democracy, freedom and equality, said Leader of the Israeli opposition, MK Isaac Herzog. "Israel is bond together with the US by our shared commitment to these values. We will always stand together with America in the fight against terrorism and extremism. It is a fight we are all too familiar with. To defeat the terrorists, we must destroy them militarily, but we must also show that our ideals are stronger than theirs."
Chief Israel Officer of JNF Israel, Mr. Eric Michaelson, said that, “The 9/11 Living Memorial was established here in the Jerusalem hills by KKL-JNF and JNF-USA, with the generous support of Mr. Ed Blank of New York, and the legacy of the late Bronska Stavsky Rabin Weintraub. We stand today – Americans, Israelis, and representatives of more than 30 other countries – to honor the memory of the fallen and to express our solidarity and our commitment to a more promising and optimistic future. Even after 16 years, the shock of 9/11 still remains a powerful memory, and the tragic terror attacks in the U.S., Israel, Europe and around the world make today’s anniversary so immediate and painfully relevant.”
StandWithUs CEO, Mrs. Roz Rothstein, said, “It is incredibly special to be part of this heartfelt memorial in Jerusalem. That this monument is the only one outside of the USA to mention the names of all of the fallen is a sign of the deep and meaningful relationship between Israelis and Americans.”
The 9/11 Living Memorial was established in 2009 by KKL-JNF, in collaboration with JNF-USA. The Israeli artist, Eliezer Weishoff, and KKL-JNF’s landscape architect, Yechiel Cohen, created the impressive thirty-foot-high bronze sculpture. It portrays the American flag folded into the shape of a memorial flame; a metal shard from the ruins of the Twin Towers is incorporated into the base of the monument, which overlooks a magnificent vista of the Jerusalem Hills and the Arazim Valley.
This monument reflects the shared values between Israel, the United States and the entire free world for peace and unity, and against terror.
Photo credit: Rafi Ben Hakoon