Israelis on Memorial Day mourn nation’s 23,741 soldiers killed in service


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis remembered their fallen soldiers and terror victims, coming to a standstill with the sounding of a siren marking the start of Yom Hazikaron, or Memorial Day.

Some 23,741 soldiers have died while serving in the Israel Defense Forces and its forerunners. Ninety-five names were added to the list this year, including 40 veterans who died of wounds sustained during their service. The list includes all the deaths from 1860 until today. The year 1860 marks the year in which the first Jewish neighborhood was established outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

Sixteen names were added to the list of Jewish and Israeli victims killed in terror attacks, bringing the total to 3,150. Four names were added this week, killed by rockets fired from Gaza.

Other ceremonies held Tuesday evening included the annual singing of memorial songs at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and memorial events at Safra Square in Jerusalem and at the Knesset. A joint event in Tel Aviv with bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families also was scheduled to take place after the Supreme Court approved the entry of the West Bank Palestinians for the program.

A two-minute siren will wail at 11 a.m. Wednesday kicking off memorial ceremonies at military cemeteries throughout the country, and a second national ceremony at the Yad Lebanim memorial in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday evening at 8, celebrations will begin throughout the country for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.

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