Today is Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance, on which we pay remember and pay tribute to the members of Israel’s military and security services who paid the ultimate price serving and defending their country. We also mourn the victims of terror, who were murdered solely because they were Jewish and Israeli. The total of fallen since the founding of the state is 23,646.
The day was marked by a two unite long siren heard throughout Israel at 11am during which the entire country came to a halt. The official state memorial ceremony on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
PM Netanyahu said, “The people’s love is given to your fallen loved ones and our fallen loved ones every day, especially today.” He said, “All of us—Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouin and Circassians—stand together against the terror fanatics threatening to destroy us, and together we’ll keep defeating them.”
The PM recounted that an IDF orphan had asked him earlier this week about his thoughts while sending soldiers to battle. “I told him that I think about the security of the state and its citizens, I think about the soldiers, I think about you and families like your family which might pay the heaviest price of all. I think about my brothers in arms who died beside me, about David Ben Hamo of Be’er Sheva who died in my arms. I always think about the price and how to prevent deaths, and at the same time I know that without the heroism and sacrifice of our fighters, our existence can’t be secured. At moments of truth, we must defend our existence firmly, stand up to our enemies like a fortified wall. We are here thanks to the 23,646 fallen soldiers, whose names are on this wall.”
Speaking at a military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Defense Minister Lieberman said, “Here, in this place and in every military cemetery in Israel, there are no political parties or factions,” he began in his remarks in a bid to sweep aside political differences as the country unites to remember its fallen soldiers. Here, there are no tribes and no political camps, but only one camp—the children of Israel camp, who sacrificed their lives for Israel’s independence, for its security, for its future,” the defense minister continued, as he called on the nation to unite. Like them, who did not flinch from the dangers and understood that there is no other way, we must also do the same, in their memory and in their spirit, to be one nation and one camp against the challenges that the State of Israel faces.”
At a memorial ceremony for terror victims that took place at 1pm on Mount Herzl the PM said, “We have lost remarkable figures. When I look at the pictures and hear the stories, I immediately know, like all the people of Israel know, that the terrorists robbed us of huge souls. We will chase every despicable murderer while pursing our loved ones’ mission. We will settle the land, put down roots, build communities, strengthen mutual responsibility. Our culture of life and light wll defeat their culture of death and darkness. We have strength, willpower, persistence. We will all stand shoulder to shoulder and pass the torch of mission from hand to hand, from heart to heart.”
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You can read more about today’s memorials and the heroism of the fallen on any of the Israel news publications and on https://israelforever.org/
Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, is tonight and tomorrow.
May God accept the 23,646 who died in defense of Israel as our final sacrifice, and bless Israel with true peace.