|Elana Overs' Speech at the Memorial|
That’s how my father began his talk at Beit Hatfutsoth at the opening of the Machal exhibition not long ago.
He had no fear of public speaking - unlike myself, who is very nervous. But then I thought … hang on a moment Elana, get a grip, you are not dodging bullets or putting yourself at risk… unlike you brave Machalnicks whom I address today.
And brave you are indeed.
My father often spoke of his army comrades. Of those friendships forged in fire. He believed that being a Machalnick was his greatest achievement.
You left your comfortable homes, having fought in the 2nd World War, to volunteer to fight and put your lives at risk again.
You came in your thousands from all over the world to help Israel in her explosive struggle for survival at birth and her right to exist as a nation amongst nations.
You are amazing. You are all heroes, our heroes.
Before my father’s dream of this Memorial came about, there was no roll of honour to remember those inspirational men and women, Jews and non-Jews who paid the supreme sacrifice. Their 123 names are written in stone and read out every year here in this special and beautiful place. An ideal location chosen for its proximity to the Burma road, which was built by hand, at night, to relieve a besieged Jerusalem. Their names are immortalised for those generations to come who will pay their respects… not just on Yom Hazikoron but forever.
As you sit next to your loved ones and fellow volunteers, I am sure you remember with great pride that your selfless endeavours allowed Israel to continue to exist and show the world what a truly remarkable place it is…
Israel is a shining example to the world that Jews are truly the chosen people.
G-d bless Israel and G-d bless all of you.