Israel marks “Yom Hazikaron,” Memorial Day, commemorating its fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terror.
Sirens sounded Tuesday night across Israel, bringing the country to a standstill. Israelis stopped in their tracks at 8 p.m. and stood silently for a minute to honor and remember the dead. The main memorial ceremony took place at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
Israel mourns the 23,320 security personnel who have been killed since 1860, when Jews began moving back to their homeland en masse. Of those, 116 died in the past year, including 67 soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Terrorists have claimed the lives of 2,538 Israelis since the establishment of the state. This figure includes 122 foreign citizens killed in terror attacks, but does not include Jews killed by terrorists outside of Israel. In the past year, 31 Israelis have been murdered in acts of terrorism.
Memorial Day is one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down; radio and TV stations air documentaries about those who died.
The sad atmosphere ends sharply and abruptly at sundown Wednesday when “Yom Ha’Atzmaut,” Israel’s Independence Day, celebrations begin.
Watch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message to the bereaved families on the occasion of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars: