The national memorial service for the 23,447 fallen defenders of Israel began at Mount Herzl immediately after a two-minute siren that was sounded at 11:00 AM. Netanyahu spoke during the service and promised to bring back the missing soldiers.

Netanyahu, today

Netanyahu, today Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)/Channel 2 News

Today (Wednesday), the State of Israel bows its head and remembers the 23,447 fallen soldiers and terror victims. Memorial events and ceremonies began all across the country after a two-minute siren was sounded at 11:00 AM.

The national memorial service at Mount Herzl also commenced at this time, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot in attendance.

Netanyahu spoke during the ceremony: “We, the members of the bereaved families, do not need Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) to remember our loved ones who fell but on this day, the entire nation is with us, embracing us with love.”

Netanyahu, Rivlin and Eizenkot, today

Netanyahu, Rivlin and Eizenkot, today Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)/Channel 2 News

“Every one of our families deals the terrible grief in its own way,” added Netanyahu. “As soon as we receive the news, our worlds are destroyed and we are [just] trying to get out of the wreckage. Therefore, during my years as prime minister, every time I was told that a soldier fell, my heart broke with his family. And when I need to make a decision regarding an action that would put our soldiers at risk, I weighed it carefully and seriously, considering it not just with my head but with my heart.”

“There is nothing more precious to us than our fallen, our injured and our missing soldiers,” continued Netanyahu. “We wish those who were injured while defending the country a speedy recovery and will continue to work to bring back home our soldiers, including Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. I assure you that we will not stop, not spare any effort, until we bring them home.”