New tombstones for previously unknown fallen soldiers

Before Memorial Day on Wednesday, a ceremony is to take place on Mount Herzl in which seven tombstones will be replaced for soldiers who fell during the War of Independence, this time with full details.

Dorit Perry and Guy Sagi are behind this initiative. Over years, they collected details of fallen soldiers whose tombstones were lacking information and founded a volunteer organization, Giving a Face to the Fallen, which operates under the Department of Families and Commemoration in the Ministry of Defense.

They are researching every fallen soldier whose tombstone lacks details and completing them. So far, they have managed to find the full details of seven soldiers whose tombstones will be replaced with new ones bearing full information: the fallen soldier’s full name, their parents’ names, their dates of birth and death, their date of immigration to Israel, and the circumstances of their death.

One of the fallen whose tombstone is to be replaced is Holocaust survivor Tuvia Mermelstein, who died in a battle a mere week after he arrived in Israel.

Perry and Sagi said, “Tuvia is an example of the story of immigrants and ma’apilim (illegal Jewish immigrants to Mandatory Palestine) who reached Israel and who were sent directly from the boat to the battlefield and died without anybody knowing them. It’s unthinkable that a soldier who fell for the country should be invisible.”