By ISRAEL HAYOM—
Israel will mark Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism over the next 24 hours, with a series of services that are scheduled to begin on Sunday afternoon.
The first state ceremony honoring Israel’s 23,169 fallen soldiers is scheduled to be held at 4 p.m. at Jerusalem’s Yad Labanim Center, and will be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A one-minute siren will sound across Israel at 8 p.m. Sunday, after which a Memorial Day service will be held at the Western Wall, with President Shimon Peres, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and hundreds of bereaved families in attendance.
The Knesset will host its annual Memorial Day service at 9 p.m. at the Chagall State Hall.
A two-minute siren will sound across Israel at 11 a.m. Monday, after which the main Memorial Day service will be held on Mount Herzl. Memorial services will be held at the same time in military cemeteries nationwide.
The Jewish Agency will hold a service honoring Jews killed in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide at its Jerusalem headquarters at 9 a.m. Monday.
At 1 p.m. the state service honoring the victims of terrorism will he held on Mount Herzl.
“The siren piercing the air on the eve of Memorial Day will symbolize the transformation of your agonizing, personal pain to one shared by the entire nation,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote in a missive sent to bereaved families.
“It seems that no Israeli is stranger to the pain of bereavement. The servicemen and servicewomen who have made the ultimate sacrifice will be forever young, and the void they had left can never be filled.
“It is hard to describe the depth of this pain, the magnitude of this longing or the relentless grief that clouds the lives of bereaved families day and night. Before our eyes we once again see these youth, who had their entire lives ahead of them, and whose hopes and dreams were cut short before their time. In your homes, photographs tell the story of days now gone, when they were full of joy, full of life.”
The State of Israel will mark its 66th Independence Day on Tuesday, Ya’alon continued, “and over the years, Israel has been able to grow and prosper in a way that has made it a role model for other nations. We have made remarkable achievements, and given the complex challenged we have faced over the years, and will undoubtedly face in the future, that cannot be taken for granted.
“Despite our successes we have yet to find peace. But we will not be deterred. We will continue to strive for peace, but we will cut off the hand of those who seek to destroy us. We will bravely face any challenge and we will succeed in every mission if we demonstrate steadfast resolve and unity.
“Unfortunately, you have paid the ultimate price so we can live in this county. There is no cure for this terrible pain, the longing and the sense of emptiness. But you have taught us true strength. Your resilience and they way you have embraced life despite the immense grief are the epitome of heroism to me, and it serves as an example to us all,” Ya’alon concluded. “May all the fallen rest in peace.”
Ahead of Memorial Day and Independence Day, the IDF will impose a closure on Judea and Samaria starting at 6 p.m. Sunday. The closure will be lifted on midnight Tuesday, pending a security assessment.
The Israel Police will bolster deployment in Jerusalem and in cemeteries nationwide ahead of Memorial Day services and Independence Day celebration to maintain public order.