This year, Israel will remember and honor the tens of thousands of slain soldiers and victims of terror on Tuesday evening, 13th April, 2021 (1 Iyar, 5781). Israel Memorial Day will officially be opened by lowering the flag to half-mast and by the sounding of a siren at 8:00 PM, during which everyone will stand for 1 minute of silence.
Memorial Day unites the citizens of Israel in commemorating its fallen soldiers, whose sacrifice has enabled Israel's existence. The day is marked each year on, or in proximity to, the 4th of the Hebrew month of Iyar and is observed the day before Independence Day, symbolizing the connection between the devotion of the fallen and the establishment of the State of Israel.
Last year at this time, the Ministry of Health prohibited bereaved families from visiting the graves of their loved ones due to the pandemic. This year, even individuals without Green Pass certificates will be allowed to enter the cemeteries. Ceremonies and memorial events will be held this year in accordance with the directives of the Ministry of Health, including admission of Green Pass holders. The Memorial Day ceremony at the National Memorial Hall on Mount Herzl will include up to 200 people seated from one another at the prescribed distance. The ceremony at Yad LaBanim in Jerusalem in an open space will allow for the attendance of up to 400 people and the ceremony at the Western Wall will accommodate up to 500 people, by prior arrangement.
An additional 2-minute siren will be sounded at 11:00 AM. At the end of the day, the military ceremony at Mount Herzl will take place, with the list of attendants strictly limited. Afterwards, Israel's 73rd Independence Day will begin.
Over the past decade, Friends of KKL-JNF in Israel and throughout the world have donated some forty projects in commemoration of IDF soldiers and members of the security forces who have died in action. In addition, tens of forests and groves have been dedicated in memory of the fallen.
KKL-JNF creates infrastructure to absorb the numerous people who observe Memorial Day at forest sites. Throughout the year, bereaved families and IDF units turn to KKL-JNF requesting help in establishing commemorative sites for their loved ones. These heritage sites are diverse in character and include scenic lookouts, picnic and recreation areas, hiking and cycling trails, created throughout KKL-JNF forests, from the north to the south of the country. They also serve to educate visitors about historic battles.
Among the many sites that have been built by KKL-JNF are the Oron Lookout Point near Poria Ilit in the Lower Galilee, Mt. Adir Observation Point overlooking the Israel-Lebanon border, the AACI memorial for fallen Israeli soldiers from the USA and Canada, the Arbel Reich Scenic Lookout in Yuvalim, and the Ahim-Golani Battalion 51 Recreation Area.
Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers and the Victims of Terror
Statistics for Memorial Day 2021 from the Israel Defense Ministry show that 23,928 people have died in the line of duty or in terror attacks, an increase of 112 names since last year's Memorial Day. The figures include soldiers and police who died over the course of their service from accidents, suicide, and complications arising from illness.