Israel commemorates its fallen IDF soldiers, terror victims

Israel will come to a standstill to mark Yom Hazikaron, its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,544 fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks.

Israel will come to a standstill on Sunday night to mark Yom Hazikaron, its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,544 fallen IDF soldiers and 3,117  victims of terrorist attacks who have died in the last 150 years.

It is one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down. Radio and TV stations air documentaries about the fallen soldiers and terror victims.

The figure of 23,544 fallen soldiers is counted from when Jews first began to settle outside of Jerusalem in the 1860’s, including 97 fallen IDF officers and soldiers who died in the past year.

Since the establishment of the state, 3,117 civilians were murdered in acts of terrorism. Since last year’s Yom Hazikaron, 11 civilians were killed in attacks. The latest victim is English exchange student, Hannah Bladon, who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem.

The dead include members of the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Service), the Mossad, the Israel Police, the Israel Prisons Service and the World War II Jewish Brigade, including 148 fallen soldiers who were also Holocaust survivors and soldiers who died from their disabilities suffered during combat.

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There are currently 9,157 bereaved parents in Israel, 4,881 widows of fallen security servicemen, 1,843 orphans under the age of 30 and thousands of bereaved siblings and older orphans.

Terrorist attacks have left many orphans, including 109 orphans who have lost both parents, along with 826 widows and widowers and 939 bereaved parents.

More than 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit Israel’s 52 military and other cemeteries throughout Yom Hazikaron.

Sirens will wail on Sunday night, and a two-minute siren will wail across Israel at 11 a.m. on Monday marking the start of memorial ceremonies at military cemeteries.

The day’s events conclude with a candle-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl and the melancholic atmosphere ends sharply at sundown Monday when Israel kicks off its 69th Independence Day celebrations.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News