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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Israel prepares to mourn its fallen soldiers


A minute-long siren will ring out across the country at 8 p.m. on Sunday to mark the beginning of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars; more than 1.5 million Israelis expected to visit military cemeteries.

Millions of Israelis will mark Remembrance Day on Sunday evening, and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the country’s defense.
A minute-long siren will ring out across the country at 8 p.m. on Sunday, and a two minute siren will be heard on Monday at 11 a.m.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz will join President Shimon Peres for a candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall on Sunday evening.
On Monday, the official state memorial ceremony will commence at 11 a.m. at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Peres and Gantz will be in attendance.
At the same time, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will attend a memorial ceremony at the military cemetery at Kiryat Shaul.
Israel, including the pre-state yishuv, has lost 25,578 casualties to war and terrorism since 1860, according to figures released by the Defense Ministry.
Over the past year, 43 disabled IDF veterans died of their disabilities, and have been recognized as fallen soldiers.
Also on Monday, more than 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit military cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry has organized hundreds of buses to transport people.
The ministry has also prepared 1 million water bottles to hand out to bereaved families and the general public at the entrance to cemeteries. It expects some 23,000 candles to be lit at grave sites.
There are 10,245 bereaved parents, 4,964 widows, and 2,324 people orphaned by war or terrorist attacks – a total of 17,533.
On Thursday night, Ya’alon emphasized the IDF’s role in keeping Israelis safe.
“Despite everything, despite so many elements that wanted to prevent this country’s founding, and who continue to invest so much everyday to destroy us – they arise here in our intelligence assessments, Iran, Hezbollah – nevertheless, there is no doubt, that what stands between independence and a lack of independence is the shield of the IDF.”