Memorial Day Ceremonies: “We are determined to complete the task, even though we understand the cost.”

Mt Herzel Memorial. Wikipedia, IDF

Today (Monday) is the Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and the Victims of Hostilities. This year it is a particularly challenging day, given the circumstances in which the State of Israel is given: A long and difficult war, and a year that has seen the most casualties in the past five decades – with over 1,500 soldiers and civilians added to the toll.

The events of Memorial Day began last night in the state ceremony at the Western Wall. The ceremony took place in the shadow of the war, and after the siren, the Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, spoke a few things about it, and about Memorial Day as a whole: In his speech, Halevi again claimed responsibility for the failures of the army on October 7, and promised that he would always be committed to the families of the fallen, whom he will never forget. At the same time, Halevi clarified the IDF’s commitment to continue the war mission, despite the knowledge that there will likely be additional fatalities along the way.

President Herzog also attended the ceremony, and used his speech to refeer to the war and its implications for various minorities in the State of Israel: Herzog emphasized the sacrifice of the Druze and Bedouin fighters, who seek full civil equality; he hinted at the Haredim, in the context of the political issue surrounding the draft law, that serving in the IDF is a right and not an obligation; he made it clear to the families of the abducted Israelis that the state is committed to their cause, even when there are other illusions; and finally, Herzog appealed to the wide world: “We did not want or choose this terrible war. Not this war and not in the past… As long as our enemies seek to destroy us, we will not lay down our sword.”

At the same time, additional memorial ceremonies were held throughout the country, as in IDF bases and even inside the Gaza Strip, with many testimonies of manoeuvring fighters standing at attention in the siren. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been documented placing tefillin at the request of a bereaved mother and in memory of the fallen; tomorrow the Prime Minister is expected to participate in the central ceremony for the memory of the fallen on Mount Herzl, which will begin after the two-minute siren at 11 a.m.

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