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Israel lost 59 soldiers since last Memorial Day

Commemorations begin at sundown on April 24 and ends 24 hours later, when the Jewish state ushers in its 75th Independence Day.

Soldiers at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv as Israel marks Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, April 28, 2020. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Soldiers at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv as Israel marks Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, April 28, 2020. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Fifty-nine Israeli soldiers fell in the line of duty since the last Memorial Day and an additional 86 disabled veterans died due to their condition, the Defense Ministry announced over the weekend.

Overall, 24,213 soldiers have lost their lives in service to the nation since 1860.

Israel will mark this year’s Memorial Day beginning Monday night, when a one-minute siren will sound across the country. Commemorations will take place at 52 military cemeteries and memorial sites during the following 24 hours, with the main ceremony held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

President Isaac Herzog and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi will address the central event.

On Tuesday at 11 a.m., a two-minute siren will blare, followed immediately thereafter by an air force flyover of the Memorial Hall at Mount Herzl. Another state ceremony will then take place there, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in attendance.

The names of Israel’s fallen soldiers will be broadcast on Israeli television from 8:45 p.m. on April 24 until the following day, and can also be found on the Izkor website.

Netanyahu on Thursday called on citizens to put aside differences, especially as it relates to the debate over the government’s judicial reform initiative, for one day, as the country finds common cause in mourning its heroes.

“In a few days, we will fix our gaze on the military sections in the cemeteries. Every headstone there tells the story of a life that was cut short. The unity of silent bereavement in the cemeteries cries out to us at this time. Our loved ones who fell, our loved ones who paid for our revival with their lives, did so for us—and we must stand together for them, united, in order to be worthy of their sacrifice,” said Netanyahu.

“In recent months, there has been an important debate in our democracy, but at this time, I ask all elected officials, from the right and the left, to put aside the debate, to leave it outside the cemeteries, to allow the bereaved families, all of us, to be in silence with the memory of our loved ones. We all deserve to experience these days with the entire people of Israel standing united behind our heroes, without any argument,” he added.

In a rare show of consensus, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid and National Unity Party head Benny Gantz also called for politics to be omitted from the special day.

Memorial Day ends Tuesday night, when Israel will usher in its 75th Independence Day.

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