Israel Science and Technology Directory

Jewish Holidays

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a national holiday commemorating the memory of the fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

Memorial Day was instituted as a national Holiday by a Knesset Law in 1963. Initially, the Memorial Day was declared to commemorate the memory of fallen soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces (יום הזיכרון לחללי מלחמת הקוממיות וצבא הגנה לישראל). In 1980, the name of the law was changed to Memorial Day for the Martyrs of the Israeli Armed Forces (ום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל) to include all members of pre-state underground militias who fought the British. On February 5, 1997, the Government passed a resolution declaring Memorial Day as a day of remembrance for the victims of terror.

The day commemorates the memories of all members of the Israeli Security forces of all religions, including Jews, Druze, Bedouins, Christians, and Muslims.

The day's events start with a one-minute siren on the eve of Remembrance Day at 20:00 throughout the country. The official state ceremony opening the Memorial Day is held at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem in the presence of the President and the Chief of Staff. Additional ceremonies are organized throughout the country.

The next day at 11:00 AM, a two-minute silence siren is sounded across the country, followed by memorial ceremonies in all military cemeteries with the participation of bereaved families, public figures and representatives of the government, and security forces. The main memorial service is held in the military section of Mount Herzl.

In ceremonies held in military cemeteries, the state flag is lowered to half-mast, a special "Yizkor" prayer is said, a public figure - a minister in the government or a Knesset member - speaks, a military cantor sings the prayer "God is merciful" and representatives of institutions and organizations lay wreaths on the graves. The ceremony ends with a barrage of honor by the IDF Guard.

A torch-lighting ceremony at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery seals the Memorial Day events and opens the Independence Day celebrations.

The number of fallen soldiers from 1860 to 2022 is 24068.

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