The State of Israel commemorates the memory of those who fell in the wars of Israel and the victims of terror attacks. At 8pm, there was a siren for one minute and the flag was down to half-mast. President Rivlin lit a memorial torch and said, “We didn’t forget those who didn’t return from the battlefield.”

Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Tonight, officially the events for Memorial Day in honor of those who died in Israel’s wars and the terror victims was commemorated. At 8pm, a siren was sounded for one minute and the flag was lowered to half-mast. The State of Israel bowed its head to commemorate those who were killed.

After the one minute siren, President Reuben Rivlin lit a memorial torch. Moriyah Ben Arie, the widow of the late Major Hagai Ben Arie, who succumbed this year to the injuries he got during Operation Protective Edge, gave Rivlin the torch while two of their children were with her. Right afterwards, they read a memorial statement as well as Psalms and a did a prayer for the souls of Israel’s fallen. 

The Kaddish this year was read by Rabbi Ohad Taharlev, the father of Sergent Elhai Taharlev, who was murdered in a terror attack in the Ofra Junction earlier this month. Afterwards, the Chief Cantor of the IDF Lietenant Colonel Shai Abramsom delivered a special prayer and everyone sang Hativka, the Israeli national anthem, accompanied by the IDF Choir. 

Rivlin stated in the ceremony, “Once when I was small, the fallen soldiers were considered in my eyes to be big. Those from a bigger class than me and the guides that we admired. Afterwards, the fallen were in my age. Today, those who fall in wars are in the age to be our grandchildren.”

Regarding the meetings with bereaved families and the relatives of the fallen soldiers, he stated: “Like a cursed fateful decree, I always come a little late. I always miss them and see their names in black with their colorful pictures and their last selfie and their last message to their mother. The heart breaks to pieces.”

“Grandpa and grandma, you always sit there aside and your cry is a silent cry,” he proclaimed. “You are no longer you. You sit and are silent. I sit and am silent with you, my dear ones. In the Kotel of tears, on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem, we remember our holy freedom. We know that there is a price for our freedom here.” He added, “There is a price and we with fear are willing to pay it. We live this right and you paid the price. The price of your freedom was paid by your blood. We remember you all.”

The Israeli President added: “We did not forget the fighters who did not return from the battlefield, the task of returning the missing and the fallen whose graves are not yet known. The souls of our sons and daughters will be a bundle of life.” 

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizencot also spoke and stated, “With the sound of the siren, the Israeli nation enters into itself, every person with his pain. An entire nation sadly and proudly carries the memories of its loved ones, appreciating the contributions of its fallen heroes and bowing their heads. The people of Israel bow their heads in memory of their commanders and soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the defense of the homeland.”