Contributed by CAMERA intern Sarah Salinger.
Today is Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, which is observed every year to honor those who have died in wars to protect Israel and as a result of terror attacks. This year, Yom Hazikaron is especially painful for friends and families of the 60 plus IDF soldiers and innocent civilians who died this past summer during Operation Protective Edge. In addition to these victims, the three boys– Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah– who were kidnapped from a bus stop in Gush Etzion last June are also in the hearts of all Jews this Yom Hazikaron.
Like other important days of commemoration in Israel, Yom Hazikaron is observed with sirens that can be heard around the country– one at 8pm the eve of Yom Hazikaron and one at 11 AM the next morning. The sirens are a way for Israelis around the country to mourn collectively for the losses of their friends, family, and others who have died for their country. In addition to the sirens, ceremonies are held in numerous places around the country to honor the fallen soldiers and terror attack victims. This year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein spoke at the ceremony held by Yad Labanim in Jerusalem, the association for the families of fallen soldiers. Since Yom Hazikaron last year, 116 soldiers and terror victims have died.