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  • Israeli soldiers salute at the graves of IDF soldiers for Yom Hazikaron. | Photo: Flash90
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Sorrow Followed by Joy

Marie-Louise Weissenböck - 25 April 2020

Yom Hazikaron is Israel’s official day of remembrance for fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism. It falls exactly one week after Holocaust Remembrance Day. As casualties are very close to home in this small country, the day is extremely solemn.

Commemoration ceremonies are held across Israel and TV and radio are devoted to the commemoration of those who have fallen. Flags throughout the country are lowered to half-mast. Public transport for those going to military cemeteries is free of charge.

“Commemoration ceremonies are held across Israel and TV and radio are devoted to the commemoration of those who have fallen.”

Two sirens sound during the 24-hour period when people respectfully come to a standstill in honour of those who died in order to gain and preserve the freedom of the nation. It is not a public holiday but has been an official Remembrance Day since it was enacted into law in 1963.

In a way which is unique to Israel, Remembrance Day flows straight into Yom Ha’atzmaut, which commemorates the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948. As is often customary in Judaism, Jews remember the heartbreak together with the joy.

An official ceremony is held every year on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem on the evening of Independence Day. It includes the ceremonial lighting of twelve torches, one for each of the Tribes of Israel. Many cities hold outdoor performances in city squares featuring leading Israeli singers and fireworks displays.

This year Yom Hazikaron begins on the evening of 27 April and ends on the evening of 28 April when Yom Ha’atzmaut begins. It ends on the evening of 29 April 2020.

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