Israel remembers its fallen soldiers and terror victims
Israelis have paid homage to its more than 25,000 fallen soldiers and terror victims. Yom HaZikaron, the country's Memorial Day, began on Sunday night with the sounding of a siren. “We will not forget even for a moment and will always remember those for whom the survival of Israel and its glory are indebted. Those who over the 65 years of the state’s existence, protected her with their bodies, their blood and their lives, defended her borders and the security of her citizens, her independence and her freedom. Israel is as dear to us as the bravery of her fighters, and as dear as the depth of the sorrow for each fallen soldier,” PresidentShimonPeres said, addressing bereaved families Sunday night at the national ceremony held at the Western Wall.
“The courage and spirit of the soldiers of the IDF and their commanders, their courage and faith in the righteousness of their path together with the preservation of their morals and values are the guarantees that the IDF will prevail. We know it. Our enemies have learnt it. May they not err again. We have a duty to spare no effort and no cost to end the war and bring security and peace to this country. Because even if the price of peace will be heavy – we will always be able to bear it. Terror brings death. Peace brings life. For us and our neighbors,” Peres declared.
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz also attended the ceremony and addressed the bereaved families. “Today, the State of Israel honors the memory of its fallen, our soldiers and our people who fell in Israel’s wars and in the terrorist attacks. From the moment the state was established, it has not ceased to wish for peace with its neighbors, and to the same degree, its enemies have not ceased from their aspiration to wipe it off the face of the earth. We are here thanks to Israel’s fighters who joined the struggle for our existence, thanks to those who survived the wars and thanks to those who fell. We do not forget, even for a second, that we are here thanks to the fallen,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu visited the grave of his brother, Yonatan, who died in 1976, during the rescue of kidnapped Israelis in Entebbe, Uganda, due to security concerns.
Some 92 names were added to the list of Israel’s fallen this year. Today in Israel there are 17,553 bereaved families of security personnel, 2,324 orphans, and 4,964 widows of the IDF and the defense establishment, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Israelis observed two-minutes of silence on Monday morning as a siren rang out across the country in honor of Israel's fallen soldiers. Traffic stopped on highways and people halted their work days to observe the moment of silence on Monday at 11 a.m.
More than 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit military cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry has organized hundreds of buses to transport people.The end of Yom HaZikaron on Monday night marks the start of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. This year, the State of Israel celebrates the 65 year of its independence.