Israel Mourns Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims on Yom HaZikaron

Israel observes Yom HaZikaron, its annual Remembrance Day, honoring 1,594 fallen soldiers and civilians killed since last year's commemoration. The nation mourns its highest number of security forces members and terror victims in five decades.

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Muthana Al-Najjar
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Israel Mourns Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims on Yom HaZikaron

Israel Mourns Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims on Yom HaZikaron

As the sun sets on May 13, 2024, Israel will begin observing Yom HaZikaron, its annual Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. The somber occasion takes on added significance this year, as the nation mourns the highest number of security forces members and terror victims killed since the October 7 attacks.

Why this matters: The commemoration of Yom HaZikaron highlights the ongoing struggle for peace and security in the region, underscoring the need for continued international cooperation and diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of conflict. Moreover, it serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of violence and terrorism, emphasizing the importance of promoting tolerance, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.

Since last year's Remembrance Day, 1,594 soldiers and civilians have lost their lives in combat or terrorist attacks, marking the deadliest year for Israel in five decades, not seen since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Among the fallen are 760 members of the security forces, including 598 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, 39 security officers, 68 police officers, and six members of Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency.

The opening ceremony will take place at the Western Wall, followed by a two-minute siren at 11 am on Monday. Memorials will be held throughout the country, mostly at military cemeteries, with the central ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Families of the fallen will light commemoration candles and recite memorial prayers, including Psalm 144.

One of the many soldiers being remembered is 21-year-old St. Sgt. Shachar Fridman from Jerusalem, who served in the 101st Paratroopers Battalion. Fridman was killed fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza on November 19. His family shared his ethical will, which includes messages of kindness, self-improvement, and appreciation for life. "Be Good People... Smile... Strive to make every person you meet smile too... Be open to criticism and always try to improve yourself," Fridman wrote.

Aryeh Moalem, head of the Families and Commemoration Department in the Defense Ministry, emphasized the challenges faced in the wake of the October attacks. "We have expanded cemeteries in minutes with the clear goal of bringing the fallen to their final resting place respectfully," Moalem said.

This year's Remembrance Day comes amid ongoing conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah, with the country still holding hostages alive and dead in Gaza. The events will honor not only fallen soldiers but also victims of antisemitic terror attacks, including those outside Israel. Yom HaZikaron recognizes the sacrifices of soldiers from diverse backgrounds, including Jewish, Druze, Circassian, and Bedouin communities.

As Israel mourns its fallen heroes and victims of terror, the nation stands united in remembrance and resilience. The staggering loss of life over the past year serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges and sacrifices made in the pursuit of peace and security. On this solemn day, Israel honors the memory of those who gave their lives in service to their country and fellow citizens.

Key Takeaways

  • Israel's Remembrance Day (Yom HaZikaron) honors fallen soldiers and terror victims on May 13, 2024.
  • 1,594 soldiers and civilians have died since last year's Remembrance Day, the deadliest year in 5 decades.
  • 760 security forces members, including 598 IDF soldiers, have been killed in combat or terror attacks.
  • Families of the fallen will light candles, recite memorial prayers, and hold memorials throughout the country.
  • The day honors sacrifices of soldiers from diverse backgrounds, including Jewish, Druze, Circassian, and Bedouin communities.