Uniting in Memorium of those who gave their lives for the Jewish state, Israel on Wednesday morning honored the nation’s fallen with memorial services, visits to cemeteries, and a nationwide siren before transitioning from mourning to joy as nightfall ushers in the country’s 74th Independence Day.
A siren was sounded nationwide at 11 a.m., bringing the country to a standstill for two minutes of silence in memory of the over 24,000 service members and thousands more terror victims killed in Israel and its pre-state precursors over the last century and a half.
Fifty-six soldiers died during their military service since Israel’s last Memorial Day. Another 84 disabled veterans died due to complications from injuries sustained during their service. “They won’t return but thanks to them many returned. Thanks to them tens of thousands of civilians were saved,” IDF chief of staff Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday night as the 24-hour period of mourning began, noting the continued pain for the families of those killed. “It is always present and never rests.”
Meanwhile, a number of bereaved families place a full-page advertisement in the Makor Rishon newspaper accusing the government of being sustained by terror supporters and calling on cabinet members to stay away from commemorative ceremonies. “We, bereaved families, who have sacrificed that which is more precious to us than anything, demand that members of a government with terror supporters not attend the memorial services for our relatives who were murdered by terrorists,” read the ad, which was also posted as a flyer around Jerusalem.
As night falls, the country is slated to switch over to Independence Day with a traditional torch-lighting ceremony called for 7:45 p.m. at Mount Herzl, meant to honor extraordinary citizens and Israel supporters from diverse walks of life.