Israelis will bow their heads in mourning Tuesday evening to honor the 23,928 fallen soldiers and civilian victims of wars and terrorism. A minute-long siren will sound out across the country at 8 p.m.
After the siren, a memorial torch-lighting ceremony will take place at the Western Wall, attended by President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, a two-minute siren will sound, before state memorial ceremonies will commence at 52 military cemeteries throughout the country. The main ceremony will be held at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem.
At 1 p.m., a ceremony honoring the victims of terrorism will take place at Mount Herzl, usually attended by Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kohavi.
Forty-three fallen soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the past year.
After bereaved families were prevented from visiting their loved ones’ graves last year, the Defense Ministry decided to allow family members into the cemeteries without COVID-19 limitations. Ceremonies, including at Mount Herzl and in Yad Labanim remembrance center, can only be attended by individuals with a vaccination certificate or certificate of recovery from the novel coronavirus.
“In the name of IDF soldiers and commanders, I salute those who died and the bereaved families,” Kohavi wrote in a letter sent to IDF personnel on Monday. “I pledge that we will do everything in our power to return those who are missing and taken captive. We will keep remembering, learning and teaching – and will keep fulfilling our purpose – to defend, to prepare and to win.”
The last soldier to be killed during an operation was St.-Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal of the elite Golani Reconnaissance Battalion, who was killed last May in an operation to apprehend terrorist suspects in the Palestinian village of Yabad in the northern West Bank. He was struck by a rock hurled from a building after the roundup had been completed.
After being treated by combat medics at the scene, Ben Yigal was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he succumbed to his wounds.
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