Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and
Israel´s Chief Rabbis on Tuesday attended a flag-lowering ceremony in
Jerusalem as Memorial Day is set to begin.
“For bereaved families, time stops when you get the terrible news… it
cuts your life in two: what was before, and what will never be
again,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told more than 200 soldiers
and bereaved families gathered for the Yad Lebanim Memorial for the
Fallen in Israel’s Wars.
“When you hear the siren tonight, we will turn into one family, and
the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance,” Netanyahu
said, recalling his own brother – Yoni Netanyahu – who was killed
during the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation.
Yad Lebanim (“A Memorial for the Sons”) is the organization that
supports bereaved families in cooperation with the Defense Ministry
and official government bodies. The Jerusalem memorial, located near
the government quarter, is the central memorial for soldiers killed
in action in the capital.
Memorial Day for Israel´s fallen soldiers and victims of terror will
officially commence Tuesday night at 20:00 local time when the siren
at the Western Wall is sounded for one minute of silent remembrance.
The ceremony there will be attended by President Shimon Peres, IDF
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and many families bereaved by war and
Another siren will sound at 11 a.m., bringing the entire country to a
standstill in memory of the fallen soldiers and those killed by acts
of terror. Memorial events will take place at military cemeteries, at
schools and places of work.
The number who have fallen in IDF service and in terror attacks in
Israel since the First Aliya in 1860 presently stands at 22,993.
During its War of Independence the Jewish state lost 6,373 of its
people, about 1% of its population, in the war. Of those 2477 were
civilians. Some 120 foreign nationals, tourists, and workers were
also killed during Israel´s War of Independence.
Last year, 15 Israelis were killed in hostilities. A total of 126
soldiers died while on active duty with the IDF during 2011, as well.
A ceremony at the Knesset this evening will include the reading
of "memory poems" by the Knesset Speaker, assorted government
ministers, and Israel´s police commissioner, Yohanan Danino.
The poems are written by the bereaved families and friends of
Israel´s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.