When the nation bows its head Sunday evening for Remembrance Day it will be
mourning the 22,867 servicemen and - women who fell defending the land of Israel
since 1860 – the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City walls to settle
other parts of the country.
In the past year, 183 soldiers and security
personnel died while serving the state. The figure includes the Prisons Service
victims of the Carmel fire.RELATED:Independence Day torch for Schalit, Pollard, MIAs
Remembrance Day officially begins at 8 p.m.
Sunday when a one-minute siren sounds across the country. President Shimon Peres
will open the state ceremony at the Western Wall, which will be attended by
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and representatives of bereaved
On Monday, when a two-minute siren sounds at 11 a.m.
nationwide, the day’s main memorial ceremony will begin at Jerusalem’s Mount
Herzl military cemetery. A special ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who
fought and died during the War of Independence will take place at the Mahal
memorial near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction.
Ceremonies will be held at an
additional 43 cemeteries, and the Defense Ministry said it expects over 1.5
million people to visit soldiers’ graves throughout the day.
In honor of
Remembrance Day, the Defense Ministry has placed a miniature flag and black
ribbon on the graves of all fallen soldiers. On Wednesday, Gantz laid a flag on
the grave of the latest soldier to have died during his service – Cpl. Niot
Watzman from the Golani Brigade, who was killed during a diving accident on
vacation in Eilat in April.
“Israel’s renewal was achieved through a rare
combination of vision and action, but in order for it to materialize,
generations of soldiers and commanders needed to fight and fall,” Gantz
This is also the eighth year the Defense Ministry has provided a
service to assist people in locating graves of the fallen. It provides the exact
location, and gives a map of the best route to take from the cemetery
The ministry has also purchased over 1 million flowers, which it
will distribute free at the state cemeteries. The service is available on a
special website sponsored by its Department for Commemorating Soldiers and can
be accessed at: http://www.izkor.gov.il.