In the past year, 71 IDF soldiers and security personnel have died serving the State of Israel, the Defense Ministry announced ahead of the Remembrance Day, which begins Tuesday evening.Sgt. Eliyahu Drori, 20, was born in the United States and had both American and Israeli citizenship. Drori, a combat soldier from the 188th “Barak” Armored Brigade, was the latest casualty on the list. He lived in Beit Shemesh and died on Saturday in an accident involving a tank in southern Israel on the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Drori was buried at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday. He was posthumously promoted from the rank of corporal to sergeant.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an inauguration ceremony for the national Hall of Remembrance for fallen soldiers on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, April 30, 2017 (credit: GPO)
In total, 23,645 IDF soldiers, police officers, prison wardens, Shin Bet security service and Mossad agents have been killed since 1860 defending the pre-state Yishuv and the State of Israel. That number includes members of the pre-state militias and members of the Jewish Brigade who served in the British Army during World War II.According to the Defense Ministry, there are 8,929 bereaved parents currently living in Israel; 4,849 IDF and security personnel widows; and thousands more children who have lost a parent in military operations, wars or from terrorist attacks.Since last year’s Remembrance Day, 12 Israeli civilians have been killed. The last such person murdered was Adiel Kolman, a 32-year old who died after being stabbed multiple times in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 18.The National Insurance Institute of Israel said on Friday that 3,134 Israeli civilians have been murdered in enemy activity since Israel declared its independence 70 years ago. The toll includes 122 foreign citizens who were murdered in terrorist attacks in Israel as well as 100 Israelis killed abroad in attacks.The hostilities have left 3,175 orphans, including 114 who were orphaned from both parents; 822 widows and widowers; and 926 bereaved parents.Remembrance Day ceremonies will begin Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. when a siren will be sounded throughout the country to observe one minute of silence. Another two-minute-long siren will sound at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.Millions are expected to visit military cemeteries across the nation. A memorial ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. for the first time at the State Memorial Hall for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers, which opened last year at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem and also honors security personnel.The ceremony will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut are also expected to attend.On Wednesday evening, the country will begin celebrating its 70th Independence Day with fireworks and festivities across the country.The IDF announced on Sunday that it will impose a general closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, closing all crossings during Remembrance Day and Independence Day.The closure began Monday at midnight and will be lifted on Thursday at midnight. No crossings will be allowed, except for humanitarian and medical reasons and cases made with the approval of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The decision followed a situational assessment by the IDF and in accordance with instructions given by the political echelon.
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