Washington, Sept. 9 - As Americans commemorate the 9/11 attacks on our country 10 years ago, Israel will share in the remembrance of the day’s horrors and heroism.
From the designer of the new memorial at Ground Zero to the ceremonies expected at Israel’s own 9/11 memorial in Jerusalem, the Israeli participation in a weekend of commemoration adds a poignant dimension to the close U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship.
“America’s agony was intensely felt by Israelis,” Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in an op-ed Sept. 9. “Though we had long known the trauma wrought by terror and had grappled with its grief, the 9/11 attacks were unique in their scope and devastation.”
Oren, an Israeli-American raised in a suburb outside of New York City, said both nations share their continuing defiance of terrorism and hope for a better future.
“Today, 10 years after 9/11, Americans and Israelis refuse to allow terror to diminish their determination to defend themselves or extinguish their desire for peace,” he wrote.
The architect who designed the memorial that will stand in the footprint of the World Trade Center in New York is Israeli-American Michael Arad, whose father Moshe once served as Israel’s top diplomat to the United States and Mexico. The project, with a forest of trees and two square fountains where the Twin Towers stood, will be inaugurated at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan on Sunday.
Arad told the New York Jewish Week that he approached the project with a New York mindset.
“One of the things that was most important to me was to make this for everyone,” he said. “I think that what happened that day happened to all New Yorkers, and I responded to it foremost as a New Yorker.”
Israel’s own 9/11 memorial in Jerusalem is recognizes each victim’s name as well as their countries of origin. The monument, located in the Ramot neighborhood, is a 30-foot high bronze sculpture depicting a waving American flag transforming into a flame and was dedicated in November 2009. It was sponsored by the Jewish National Fund.