update deskIsrael at War

Israel marks first post-Oct. 7 Memorial Day

Since the last Memorial Day (April 25, 2023), 1,599 Israeli soldiers and civilians have been slain.

Israeli soldiers stand still during a ceremony marking Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers stand still during a ceremony marking Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Israel marked its first post-Oct. 7 Memorial Day beginning Sunday at sundown and extending until Monday evening.

Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism (Yom Hazikaron) was ushered in with a one-minute siren at 8 p.m., followed by a state ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The event was attended by President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

Herzog addressed the crowd wearing a ripped shirt, alluding to the traditional Jewish mourning custom.

“I stand here, next to the remnants of our Temple, in torn garments. This tearing—a symbol of Jewish mourning, it is a symbol of the mourning and sorrow of an entire people in this year—a year of national mourning,” said the president.

“Citizens of Israel, at this sacred moment, I remind us and the entire world: We never wanted nor chose this terrible war. Not this one nor its predecessors. All we wanted was to return to Zion from which we were forcibly expelled, and to renew our freedom there, in a Jewish and democratic state,” stated the head of state.

At 9:15 p.m., the parliament held an event in memory of the fallen, to be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana and acting Supreme Court President Uzi Vogelman.

At 8:30 a.m. on Monday, the names of the fallen soldiers will be read at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Another two-minute siren will sound at 11 a.m., bringing the country to a standstill.

In case of rocket fire, a distinct siren will sound, one with alternating tones rather than a constant steady tone. 

Minutes later, Israeli Air Force jets will fly over Mount Herzl, kicking off the main ceremony, to be attended by Herzog, Netanyahu and others. Ceremonies will be held at cemeteries, community centers and schools across the country.

Remembrance events will continue until Monday night, at which point the country will shift to celebrating its 76th Independence Day.

Since last Memorial Day (April 25, 2023), 1,594 Israeli soldiers and civilians have died. This includes 760 Israel Defense Forces soldiers (61 of whom succumbed to their wounds from previous years) and 834 civilians, of which 822 were killed on or after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas in southern Israel, according to numbers released by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Thursday.

Five additional soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip over the weekend.

A total of 30,139 security personnel and civilians have been killed defending the Land of Israel and in terrorist attacks since 1860, the year in which the first Jews left the walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.

Ahead of Memorial Day, Israel’s leaders gathered on Sunday in a solemn ceremony at the Yad LaBanim organization for bereaved families in Jerusalem.

Addressing the various communities that make up the State of Israel, Netanyahu said, “The firm commitment to our country encompasses all of our fighters in the difficult war—Jews, Druze, Christians, Muslims, Bedouins, Circassians… We all fight together. Because this is the only way to defeat the monsters of Hamas, who want to destroy us all.

“The spirit of the people will continue, with God’s help, to lift us up in the fateful challenges that are still ahead of us, and in the full 76 years of our independence. May the memory of those who fell in the ranks of Israel, and of the victims of hostilities, the heroes beloved of our souls, be with us forever,” added the premier.

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