newsJewish & Israeli Holidays

MK Danon: Memorial Day unique opportunity for unity and strength

One-minute siren to usher in the remembrance day.

Knesset member Danny Danon arrives for a gathering at a restaurant in Jerusalem ahead of Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 13, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Knesset member Danny Danon arrives for a gathering at a restaurant in Jerusalem ahead of Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 13, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

As Israel marks Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism (Yom Hazikaron) on Sunday night, Likud lawmaker Danny Danon told JNS that it has never been more important for the nation to unite under one banner. 

“Memorial Day is a unique opportunity to show unity and strength as we continue to face major challenges,” said Danon, a former ambassador to the U.N. 

“As someone who is aware of the daily pain that bereaved families suffer, on this day of remembrance, I know the entire nation embraces them,” he added.

Danon was named after his father’s commander, Capt. Daniel Verdon, who was killed in action in the Six-Day War.

Danon’s father, Joseph, was wounded in 1969 in the Jordan Valley, during the War of Attrition. He suffered from his head injury for many years before dying of complications on Memorial Day 30 years ago.

“For me, it’s a very special day. Usually, I go with my mother and the rest of my family to pay my respects [at Joseph’s grave]. We come together. I also attend other ceremonies in different locations around the country,” said Danon.

Memorial Day was ushered in with a one-minute siren at 8 p.m., followed by a state ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. The event was attended by President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi.

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

Since last Memorial Day (April 25, 2023), 1,594 Israeli soldiers and civilians have died. This includes 760 IDF 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 onslaught by Hamas on southwestern 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.

“The Jewish people continue to pay a heavy price to secure their right to live in the Land of Israel,” Danon noted, highlighting Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza sparked by the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 people.

“The price we all paid was not in vain as it enables us to live our lives in the Land of Israel,” he added.

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

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