yom hazikaron 2016

Israel News for May 11, 2016

Officer Wounded
An IDF officer was wounded by an explosive device when he attempted to investigate a suspicious object at the West Bank checkpoint of Hizme, north of Jerusalem. After the blast, five other explosive were found at the scene and safely detonated. The IDF is investigating the possibility the explosive was detonated remotely with a mobile phone.

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Hunt Continues
The manhunt continues for the two terrorists who stabbed two elderly women in Jerusalem yesterday. The police arrested two Arab youths, but released them after determining that they were not involved in the attack. The two terror victims are currently hospitalized in stable condition.

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Unity Government
The Prime Minister is hard at work trying to form a unity government by including the opposition Zionist Union party, which holds 24 Knesset seats and is led by Isaac Herzog.

Sources close to the PM say Herzog has been offered at least nine ministries and an unspecified number of Knesset Committee chairmanships and deputy ministries in return for bringing his party into the government.

Currently the government’s coalition holds a narrow majority of 61 out of the 120 member Knesset. Eight of those 61 are held by Bayit Yehudi, the religious nationalist right-wing party led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has threatened to pull out of the government if the Zionist Union is given too much power. Bennett has specifically mentioned the Justice Ministry, headed by Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked, as a deal-breaker that would compel him to leave the government.

Sources within the Zionist Union say that party leaders, other than Herzog, are not keen about joining the government unless major policy changes are implemented, which doesn’t seem likely to happen. If a unity government were formed, Herzog would most likely become Foreign Minister, a post currently held by the PM, and be in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians and the “peace process”.

It’s also possible for Herzog to join a unity government with only a portion of his faction’s Knesset seats. Ten or more seats would work for the Likud headed government.

For now, the talking continues.

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Yom Hazikaron
Today is Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The day was marked by a two minute nationwide siren and moments of silence at 11am, in memory of the 23,477 men and women who have fallen in defense of Israel since 1860.

Those who died in the service of the country include IDF soldiers, members of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad, the Israel Police, the Prisons Service and those who died while serving in the pre-state underground militias and the Jewish Brigade in the British Army. Included in the count are 535 women.

To read more about Israel’s female fallen warriors, click here.

During Yom Hazikaron, cafes and places of entertainment are closed and radio and television programming features sad songs. The names of all fallen are read over the course of the day on special television and radio programs. At sunset the day transitions into Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, with a ceremony at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, where the national flag is returned to full staff.

Speaking at the Western Wall Yom Hazikaron ceremony, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot stressed the importance of unity, saying that soldiers and officers “leave what separates them and the differences between them behind, and are ready to give their lives for the people and the land and for their comrades.”

May Israel be blessed with peace and unity in the merit of those who gave their lives to ensure its survival.

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