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Free Flowers for the Fallen

On Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel, young members of the

Noal youth movement handed out flowers to the family members of those who came to pay

their respects to loved ones who fell in defense of Israel.

Noal has been running the Flowers for the Fallen campaign for 34 years. This year, more

than three thousands young participants – Jews, Druze and Bedouin – stationed themselves

at more than a hundred cemeteries throughout Israel to hand out free flowers to the

grieving families.

Three decades ago, an exposé in the Israeli media revealed that flower retailers were exploiting the opportunity presented by Yom HaZikaron for profit by inflating the prices of bouquets that they sold to grieving families. As soon as this story came to light, the Noal youth movement decided to embark on a nation-wide campaign together with the Department of Families and Remembrance in the Ministry of Defense to distribute free flowers to every mourning family.

This year, the Akko branch of the campaign involved a group of teen participants from the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz Shared Society Center who decided that it was important to them to participate in the country-wide campaign as an act of respect and solidarity.

“We arrived in the morning and set out to hand out Free Flowers for the Fallen to all the people who came to the cemetery to pay respects to their loved ones,” said Gaya Zagrun. “We wanted to prevent the flower sellers from exploiting the day to jack up their prices and take advantage of the mourners,” she added.

“It was such a meaningful day for us. We felt Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers in a way we never had before. We also understood how important this day is and how much the whole country needs to come together on such a day for the 23,742 souls that have been lost protecting our home. It was incredibly moving to see the smiles on the faces of the grieving families when we came up to them with the flowers. I’m just happy to know that we could do something small, once a year, for our country and for the families of those who died defending it so that we could be here today.”

Yaniv, Akko Educators’ Kibbutz member and coordinator of the Shared Society youth center, said: “We come here every year and we will keep coming back every year. As a Zionist movement, it’s our duty to make sure that remembering our fallen does not become a private matter for the families to face alone. This campaign is our way of telling the families that they aren’t alone, that their loss is our loss, and that their pain is our pain. It’s a small but powerful gesture, and we will keep bringing Shared Society Center participants back to make the same gesture here every year.”

The campaign in Akko lasted three hours and distributed hundreds of bouquets to families.

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