IDF Chief of Staff calls to keep politics out of Memorial Day gatherings

Herzi Halevi urges Israelis not to bring judicial reform debate to military cemeteries during upcoming Memorial Day.


IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi called on the Israeli public to respect the sanctity of the country’s national Memorial Day and to not politicize the day’s ceremonies with protests, especially at military ceremonies.

His call comes at a time when the nation is badly divided over the government’s controversial judicial reform plan which has seen massive protests against it held all over Israel for months.

“We must all respect the cemeteries and not turn them into an arena of debate; Communion with our fallen loved ones cannot exist under the noise of debate.”

The Chief of Staff’s words echo those made by many politicians from both sides of the political spectrum in Israel.

In Israel, Memorial Day for fallen soldiers is a day of national mourning in which places of entertainment are closed at night, people gather to pay their respects at military cemeteries across the country and television and radio stations broadcast only somber music and programs dedicated to the IDF such as documentaries about Israel’s wars and history.

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The day will begin Monday night at 8 PM local time with a one-minute-long siren blast during which people will stand for a minute of silence in memory of the fallen. A second two minutes of silence will be observed Tuesday morning at 11 AM. The day will end at 8 PM Tuesday night with the start of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations.