Pearls light Yom Hazikaron flame

April 16, 2013 by Benjamin Rutland
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Ruth and Professor Judea Pearl, the parents of the late American Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl murdered in Pakistan, lit the memorial flame at a Yom Hazikaron – Israel Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem.

Ruth and Professor Judea Pearl and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel light the memorial flame. Photo: Sasson Tiram

Ruth and Professor Judea Pearl and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel light the memorial flame.
Photo: Sasson Tiram

The Pearl’s took part in the annual ceremony, at the Entrance Plaza to the Jewish Agency and National Institutions Compound in Jerusalem, which honors the memory of Jews killed in terror attacks and anti-Semitic incidents across the globe, in addition to Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror attacks in Israel. Also participating in the ceremony will be Daniel Pearl’s, two sisters, his wife Mariane, and his son Adam who was born several months after his father’s murder. Since the creation of the State of Israel, hundreds of Jews have been killed in terror attacks targeting Jews around the world.

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 went 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. The last words of my son were: “My father is a Jew, my mother is a Jew and I am a Jew. 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.”

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel said during the ceremony: “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. This is one united front in which we stand shoulder to shoulder with IDF soldiers and the entire Jewish people. When those who hate us seek to attack Jews they view Israel as the target. When our enemies attempt to attack Israel and don’t succeed they attack Jewish communities around the world. So it was in Argentina and also a year ago in Toulouse. 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. These words give inspiration to numerous Jews around the world who are proud of their Judaism and their connection to Israel.”

Daniel Pearl, an American Jew who also held Israel citizenship, was working as the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in January 2002 by militant Islamic fundamentalists, while researching a story in Karachi, Pakistan.  Nine days after his abduction, Pearl was cruelly beheaded. In a video which was released of his murder, Pearl was filmed making the famous statement: “My name is Daniel Pearl. I’m a Jewish American…My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I’m Jewish” Daniel was 38 when he was killed. Several months after his death, his wife Mariane gave birth to their son, Adam. Recently a former leader of the outlawed terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) was arrested in suspicion of involvement in Pearl’s murder. The ceremony at the Entrance Plaza to the National Institutions Compound in Jerusalem was organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel 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.

Former Sydneysider Benjamin Rutland is Spokesperson to the Foreign and English Language Media at the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem.

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