Israel marked its annual memorial day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks at sundown on Tuesday, a day before the country’s 67th Independence Day.
As part of national commemorations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein participated in a ceremony at Yad LaBanim, the association for families of fallen soldiers, in Jerusalem.
“I know your pain and I feel your longing. Thirty-nine years after my brother fell, the grief has not subsided,” Netanyahu told the bereaved Israeli families in attendance, referencing his brother Yonatan, who was killed during the Entebbe hostage operation in 1976.
“The grief did not subside in my parents-may they rest in peace-until their final day,” said Netanyahu, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Israel has lost 23,320 soldiers and victims of terror since its founding, including 116 since last year’s Yom Hazikaron. Sixty-seven soldiers were killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer, and 35 additional soldiers died over the past year due to injuries, the Israeli Defense Ministry said. In addition to various commemoration ceremonies, a country-wide siren sounded at 8 p.m. Israel time calling for a moment of silence. Another siren is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.