Today is Yom Hazikaron, the day Israel remembers and honors its 24,068 fallen soldiers, police and security forces along with 4,217 civilian victims of terror. A two-minute siren sounded across the country at 11am, followed by state memorial services at the country’s 52 military cemeteries nationwide, attended by bereaved families, public figures and representatives of the government, police and the security forces. The main service was held at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Last night a 1 minute siren sounded at 8pm. An annual state ceremony was held at the Western Wall in honor of the dead, attended by the country’s top officials.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett released a video statement for the bereaved families:
“The sacrifice of the fallen obliges us, the living, to do better and be more united; to conquer our divisions and to love one another as well, and perhaps especially, when we do not agree on everything. Among the fallen, there are religious and secular people, right and left, Jews and non-Jews. They lived together, served together, fought together and died together. And they would probably like us to continue living together. Your loved ones have paid the ultimate price in the continuous struggle for our independence, for our security here in this country, and we will continue to do everything to ensure that their way, which is the way of the whole nation, is the one that prevails.”
Hamas has claimed responsibility for the terror attack outside of Ariel this weekend, which took the life of an Israeli security guard. The Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, praised the attackers in a speech on Saturday. The 2 terrorists were captured by security forces after a 20 hour manhunt.
Turkish President Erdoğan sent Israeli President Herzog a congratulatory letter on the occasion of Israel’s 74th Independence Day. The letter said: “On the occasion of the National Day of the State of Israel, I extend congratulation to Your Excellency and the people of Israel on behalf of my nation and myself. In the new period in our relations, heralded by your Excellency’s visit to our country in March, I sincerely believe that the cooperation between our countries will develop in a way that serves our mutual national interests, as well as regional peace and stability. Taking this opportunity, I extend my best wishes for the health and happiness of Your Excellency, and for the well-being and prosperity of the people of Israel.”
A fatal car crash in southern Israel claimed the lives of three parents on Tuesday, leaving behind 21 newly orphaned children. The three victims were identified as Tzipi Shimoni — mother of ten children aged between two months and 15 from Moshav Sde Uziyahu, Fentanesh Obenach — mother of eight from Kiryat Malachi, and Matanya Ayoubi — father of three, the youngest of whom is just one month old, from Moshav Even Shmuel. Six other people were injured. Since the beginning of the year, 124 people have been killed on the road in Israel.
Air Cairo has this week launched three weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm El-Sheikh in the Sinai.
The unemployment rate in Israel fell to 2.9% in the first half of April, from 3.7% in the second half of March, which is a 50 year low. To read more, click here.
Tonight Israel begins celebrating its 74th Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, with celebrations throughout the country tonight and tomorrow.