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(Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers)

From the Archive

Bible, Sages, the modern era and Zionism.

Literary sources and diverse poetry

Festival songs set to music

For celebrating with family and community

For educators, families, students and communities

> Background

Immediately following the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the partition of Palestine on November 29, 1947 and the declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, the battles of the War of Independence erupted, and the joy of independence was mixed with the memory of the fallen. As far back as in the years the first two Independence Days were celebrated, some time was dedicated to the memory of the fallen during those Independence Days. Nonetheless, it became necessary to dedicate a separate day for memorial, aside of the commemoration on Independence Day. Many days were proposed for this, including the 11th of Adar, the Tel Hai Memorial Day, and Lag Ba'Omer, a day related to the Bar Kokhba revolt.  In 1951 a decision was made, to a great degree – under the influence of David ben Gurion, to dedicate the 4th of Iyar, the day prior to Independence Day, from the evening beforehand to the following evening, in order to reflect the contribution of the fallen to the rebuilding of Israel.

> The Story

Memorial Day is opened with a siren, which when is sounded, people stand and listen to it in silence and with a State memorial ceremony at the Western Wall, attended by bereaved families. Tel Aviv and other cities hold an evening of memorial songs, called "Singing in the Square". On this evening all the amusement parks, cafes and entertainment centers are closed. On the following day, a two-minute silence-siren is sounded, and immediately afterwards memorial events are held in military cemeteries throughout the country. The main ceremony takes place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Throughout the day, IDF soldiers place flags of Israel and a Yizkor ribbons over the graves of the fallen soldiers.

Over the years, Memorial Day for IDF soldiers has become a Memorial Day for all those who have fallen since early Zionism - the fallen of the underground movements and the victims of hostile attacks.

> In Zionism

Unfortunately, Memorial Day is not just a memory of battles and casualties of the past. The list of sons and daughters who have sacrificed their lives for the rebirth of Israel is long and continues to grow up till recently. In one of his notes, Writer Gershon Shofman writes: "Take your shoes off your feet and sense the earth while you are barefoot. Youths have forfeited their lives over it and are gone...over this ground young innocent girls have died".

Can we be worthy of the memory of the fallen who have forfeited the most precious of all for the existence of the State of Israel? Can we establish a worthy society here, a model society that will justify their sacrifice?!

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