Remembrance Day: Bereaved IDF orphans fight for rights, recognition

A group of Israeli orphans, who lost a parent in IDF service, have set up a new organization to fight to receive the same rights from the state like parents and spouses of soldiers killed during their service. Called “Choosing Life”, the group is run by individuals who lost a parent in the IDF. The organization will officially launch on the eve of Remembrance Day, Tuesday night. The goal of the organization is to advocate for the rights, support and recognition of the children of fallen soldiers just like bereaved parents or spouses are recognized by the State of Israel. The organization, is run on a purely-volunteer basis “to preserve the stories and lives of their fathers and mothers who fell in the line of duty,” a press release reads. The law, as it has been since 1950, does not recognize the children – 21 years and older – of fallen soldiers as “bereaved;” that title is reserved for the parents and spouses.Back in October, then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the recognition of people who were orphaned, granting them the proper certifications, and bestowing their long-awaited benefits. However, the organization’s website explains, many of these benefits and recognitions are limited by age.

Though the organization will officially be launched, it has been conducting programming for a number of years. One of their programs is called “Continuing in Their Path” which brings IDF orphans to local high schools to tell their stories and the stories of their parents. The idea is to put a special emphasis on the orphans’ active choice to live meaningful and passionate lives shaped by their personal tragedy. “Continuing in Their Path” is in its third year of operation. One woman, Ruth Mashat, lost her father Lt. Shmuel Botreno when she was only three months old. She now is one of the founders and brains behind the organization. Botreno was born in Austria in 1948, emigrating to Israel with his family that same year. He wrote extensively about his passion for the state, the people of Israel and the land. Boterno was drafted into the Paratroopers Brigade in 1966, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After his discharge, he got married and had a daughter, Ruth. When he returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a commander, his unit was hit hard by an enemy force in the Golan Heights, and he worked to restore morale. He was seriously injured, and eventually passed away from his wounds on February 4, 1972. Mashat has been working to secure government recognition of orphans of the IDF’s fallen. The digital coordinator of the organization is Michal Dayan Talker, who lost her father, Chief Warrant Officer Klimo Dayan, when she was four years old. He was born in Tripoli in 1944, and made aliyah with his grandparents when he was four-years-old, in 1948. He was drafted into the IDF’s Armored Corps in 1962, and married his wife, Shoshana, in 1976. They eventually had two sons and one daughter, Michal. He passed away on February 24, 1985.

Find out more about the organization and what they do

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