Memorial Day ceremonies will be held without audiences, and many smaller ceremonies will be canceled due to the continued coronavirus crisis, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday morning.
“To preserve the health of the public on the one hand and to uphold national traditions, the defense minister instructed the Defense Ministry and the IDF Manpower Directorate that the main ceremonies at the Western Wall Plaza (on Memorial Day Eve) and Mount Herzl (Memorial Day) will be held without an audience and instead will be broadcast live,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ceremonies in the 52 military cemeteries across the country will not take place in their usual form. Instead, soldiers will hold a candlelight vigil together with a salute by a commander and a military cantor saying kaddish.
The decision was taken following the recommendation of ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam, OC Manpower Directorate Maj.-Gen. Moti Almoz and Aryeh Moalem, deputy director of the ministry's Families and Commemoration Department, who consulted with the chairpersons of Yad Labanim and the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization.
Several smaller ceremonies will also be cancelled at several sites across the country on Memorial Day and at Yad Labanim in Jerusalem on Memorial Day Eve, Moalem told reporters.
There will be no audience at the official state ceremony at the Western Wall attended by President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and at the annual “Songs in Their Memory” ceremony at the Knesset, which will be broadcast live.
On Memorial Day, the placing of wreaths and candles on graves will take place in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines, which recommend that visits of bereaved families who live abroad be canceled, Moalem said.
The minutelong nationwide siren at 8 p.m., which honors the fallen and marks the start of Memorial Day events, and the two-minute siren at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day will take place as planned.
More than 1,500,000 Israelis attend Memorial Day Eve and Memorial Day ceremonies.