With sirens and ceremonies, Israelis observe Memorial Day

Israel came to a standstill to mark Yom Hazikaron, its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,646 fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks.

By: Yona Schnitzer/TPS and World Israel News Staff 

Israel came to a standstill to mark Yom Hazikaron, its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,646 fallen IDF soldiers and 3,134 victims of terrorist attacks who have died in the last 150 years.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a siren marking Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, was sounded throughout the land of Israel, bringing the streets to a complete standstill.

Some 1.5 million Israelis visited Israel’s 32 military ceremonies throughout the country, as the Jewish state paid its respects to the members of the security forces who were killed in the line of duty and the victims of terrorism.

The two-minute siren sounded throughout the country and was followed by the formal state memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl.

Ahead of the siren, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky lit a memorial torch at an Agency memorial service to fallen IDF soldiers, as well as those who died in service of the Jewish Agency, Jewish victims of terror and anti-Semitism around the world, and for Holocaust victims who were the last members of their family lineage.

Sharansky, who became an icon of the Jewish people during his nine-year imprisonment by the Soviets for demanding an exit visa to Israel and who later became active in Israeli politics, spoke about the special role immigrants played in the establishment of the state of Israel.

Read  2nd victim of Jerusalem twin terror bombings succumbs to injuries

“About two-thirds of those who fought in the war of Independence were new Olim [immigrants],” said Sharansky, adding, “We are a family, we will remember, we will continue to grant Aliyah permits, we will continue the gathering of Israel.”

“God willing, we will continue to build and strengthen the state of Israel,” he said.