Israel marks Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism

Memorial Day, which begins this year on Monday evening, 27 April 2020, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with honor for the fallen. The official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one-minute siren.

A total of 26,969 men, women and children have been killed in terrorist attacks and in defense of the Land of Israel since 1860, the year that the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.

The number of Israel’s casualties of war stand at 23,816 as of April 2020. Since last Memorial Day, 75 new names were added to the roster of those who died defending the country. Of these, 42 deaths were members of the Defense Forces, with another 33 disabled persons dying as a result of injury in defense services. As coronavirus regulations this year restrict bereaved families from visiting their lost ones’ graves, the names of all fallen soldiers will be read in succession prior to the Memorial Day ceremony on Tuesday morning.

Three names were also added to the list of civilian Israeli terror victims who perished in attacks in the past year, bringing the total to 3,153.  

As happens every year, a siren went off on the eve of Memorial Day at 8 p.m., and another one on Memorial Day itself at 11 a.m., during which the country will stand still for a moment of silence and remembrance for the fallen soldiers of the IDF.

Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Defense decided that this year’s main ceremonies at the Western Wall Plaza on Monday evening and Mount Herzl on Tuesday morning will be held without an audience and will instead be broadcast live.  

It was further decided that ceremonies in all of the 53 military cemeteries across the country will be canceled in their usual form and in their place IDF soldiers will hold a candlelight vigil and a military cantor will recite the Kaddish. In addition, troops will place a candle, wreath and state flag on every grave.

Memorial Day will end on Tuesday evening (28 April 2020), ushering in Israel’s 72nd Independence Day.