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Israel Comes To Standstill To Remember 23,928 Fallen

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Israel comes to a standstill to remember 23,928 fallen

Country plunges into mourning as sirens mark start of Memorial Day; 43 soldiers and civilians killed since last year; Rivlin entreats nation: Israel must not be ‘taken for granted’

By Times of Israel, April 13, 2021

Israelis paid tribute to the country’s 23,928 fallen soldiers and terror victims starting on Tuesday evening, bowing their heads for a minute of silence as sirens sounded around the country to mark the start of Memorial Day.

The one-minute siren at 8 p.m. was immediately followed by the state ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. On Tuesday night, additional public memorials will be held, including at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park and in the Knesset in Jerusalem.

During the siren, traffic around the country came to an abrupt halt, as Israelis stopped driving to stand beside their cars and people at home stood in somber silence on their balconies or in their yards.

A second, two-minute, siren will go off at 11 a.m. Wednesday, which will be followed by the main Memorial Day ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, and smaller events at cemeteries across the country.

The Memorial Day events officially began at the Yad LaBanim center in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin and Chief Justice Esther Hayut in attendance.

Speaking at the ceremony, Netanyahu said Israel will make “every effort” to return its captives, which include two civilians and the bodies of two IDF soldiers believed to be held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

“This is a sacred mission that we’re not letting go of,” he said.

Speaking at the official state ceremony held at the Western Wall, President Reuven Rivlin said the message of the day was that citizens of the Jewish state must not take it for granted.

“From here, I want to speak to you, the commanders, the soldiers, those soon to enlist, the young generation. I grew up as a child at a time when we did not have a state. For me, for those of my generation, the State of Israel is not something to be taken for granted. This strong and powerful country you see was established by the heroism and dedication of young people of your age,” Rivlin said.

“Today, the task of protecting the State of Israel, is on your shoulders. Remember, without love of the homeland, dedication to mission, aiming for victory, comradeship, purpose, personal example and the purity of weapons, a free people will not be established here. The Israel Defense Force and the State of Israel, we, need you young, strong, united, united, united, determined to lend a hand, determined to continue to prevail, ready when necessary, to pay a price,” he entreated.

 

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