56 IDF soldiers and security personnel died in 2021 - Defense Ministry

56 IDF soldiers and security personnel died in 2021, while 84 IDF disabled veterans died from their disabilities over the same period.

Gush Etzion memorial service for Yom Hazikaron (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gush Etzion memorial service for Yom Hazikaron
(photo credit: Courtesy)

In the past year, 56 IDF soldiers and security personnel have died serving the State of Israel, the Defense Ministry announced ahead of the country’s Remembrance Day, which will be marked starting Tuesday evening.

Another 84 IDF disabled veterans died from their disabilities over the past year. They had all been officially recognized by the Ministry.

In total, 24,068 IDF soldiers, police officers, prison wardens, Shin Bet security service and Mossad agents have been killed since 1860 defending the pre-state Yishuv and Israel. That number also includes members of the pre-state militias and the Jewish Brigade, who served in the British army during World War II. 

Ahead of Remembrance Day, the Ministry’s Department of Families and Commemoration-which is responsible for all events regarding the day- has completed the preparation for the ceremonies by having renovated, maintained, and cleaned memorial sites, as well as repaired or replaced damaged tombstones in over 52 military cemeteries, the Bedouin Warriors memorial site at the Hamovil junction, hundreds of military burial plots, and thousands of graves across the country. 

The department’s employees have also called bereaved families ahead of Remembrance Day in order to provide any assistance they might need.

Mount Herzl on Israel's Remembrance Day.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Mount Herzl on Israel's Remembrance Day. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

"In times like these, the entire nation comes together in memory of Israel’s fallen and stands with the bereaved families,” said the Head of the Department of Families and Commemoration.

Adding that employees of the department are prepared “to welcome all bereaved families to the cemeteries across the country, today and every other day, Mualem added that the country is “embracing them and sending them our love and support. An Israeli flag, a wreath, and a candle will be placed upon every grave, from the north of Israel to the south, as an expression of the moral debt the Israeli society owes to the fallen who sacrificed their lives. May their memories be blessed.”

Remembrance Day will begin at 8 PM on Tuesday, May 3rd when a one-minute-long memorial siren will sound across the country. Immediately after the siren, memorial ceremonies will take place across the country with the main one to be held at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem in the presence of President Isaac Herzog and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.

On Wednesday, May 4th a two-minute-long siren will sound at 11:00 AM followed by official state memorial services at 52 military cemeteries across the country and at memorial sites. 

The main ceremony will be held at the State Memorial Hall On Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in the presence of the President, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Speaker of the Knesset Micki Levy. 

Immediately after the siren, at 11:02, the Independence Day flyover will take place immediately following the siren over the Memorial Hall at Mount Herzl.

This Remembrance Day, safety and accessibility are of utmost importance. Therefore, officials from the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Police, and rescue services will be present at all military cemeteries,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Along with the memorial events in Israel and as an ongoing effort to strengthen the connection with bereaved families living abroad, the Department of Families and Commemoration and the World Zionist Organization produced a joint online hybrid memorial ceremony.

The ceremony includes a video of the memorial service in Mount Herzl’s Memorial Hall which will be available on the Ministry of Defense’s YouTube channel. The ministry said that there will also be “customizable online content that each community can use individually, available on the Department of Families and Commemoration’s website.”

The ceremony will be shared with Jewish communities around the world and is available in Hebrew, English, Spanish, French, and Russian.