NEWS DESK | A terror attack years ago that killed Arab-Israelis showed this Arab-Israeli that the IDF fights for everyone in Israel. He continues the fight to this day, even after his IDF time is over. Our Matthias Inbar has the story.
Israelis will come to a somber pause on Tuesday evening, as a one-minute siren sounds in honor of the country’s 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,146 victims of terror –marking the beginning of the annual 24-hour period of mourning during which official and civilian ceremonies will take place nationwide.
Last year, some 1.5 million Israelis went to pay their respects at gravesides of those killed in wars or terror attacks throughout the country’s history.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense last week announced the addition of 96 names to the list of soldiers killed defending the Jewish state since 1860 as well as nine Israeli civilians killed in conflict-related violence in the same period, bringing the total to 3,146 terror victims.
The number has likely increased since last week’s statement, after four Israelis were killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip this weekend.
56 of the names added were IDF soldiers and police, while the other 40 were veterans who succumbed to disabilities or injuries sustained during their service.
Israel currently has close to 170,000 soldiers in active duty, with another 460,000 reservists. Military service is compulsory for Israeli Jews, and young conscripts make up two thirds of the standing army.
Memorial day is a solemn day in Israel, where grief is often openly expressed in public ceremonies. In a country where almost everyone has known someone who died fighting, most people are grieving for someone they knew personally.
There will be candle-light ceremonies in schools and public institutions, and mournful programs about Israel’s wars broadcast on public television.
Memorial Day will come to a close at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, when Israelis will allow their sadness to give way to mirth as they celebrate Independence Day with patriotic parties and events happening throughout the country.
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