Bereaved families, friends and Israeli soldiers visit the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License photo
April 25 (UPI) — Israelis paused Tuesday to recognize Remembrance Day, or Memorial Day, to honor those who have died from war and terrorism, despite the political turmoil that has engulfed the country in recent months.
minister Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the annual thanksgiving that honors the 24,213 people who died in the service of Israel and the 4,255 victims of terrorism, calling for unity.
“Today more than ever, when we remember the heroes of the nation, we must remember that we are brothers: Jews, Druze, Muslims, Bedouins, Christians, Circassians. Netanyahu said in a speech at Israel’s national ceremony at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem. “[We are] brothers in service, brothers in arms, brothers in blood.”
Netanyahu’s older brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed in a raid in 1976 to free Israeli hostages from Entebbe, Uganda.
The day was not entirely free of political unrest, as acting national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was met by some protesters at the Beersheba military cemetery, where demonstrators held signs and some began chanting in an attempt to silence his speech, but to no avail.
At the start of the celebration on Monday night, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said the traditional siren call at the recognition was a “wake-up call” for Israel.
“The siren that has pierced the silence at this moment, making its way from one land to the other, rattles our souls and gives way to a memory that overwhelms us with silence. Herzog said.
“I ask myself, I ask us: in which other country in the world does such a special sound sound?” It is the sound of pain and hope, grief and pride. This is the sound of the State of Israel.
Israel has faced mass protests Netanyahu’s efforts to reform the courts and its military have sparked conflict with the Palestinians over potential new West Bank settlements.
Israeli Parliament Speaker Amir Ohana speaks during the annual Yom HaZikaron Memorial Day ceremony at the Yad LaBanim memorial in Jerusalem in 2023. April 24 Pool Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/UPI | License photo