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Israelis Remember Fallen Soldiers, Terror Victims


JERUSALEM, Israel -- It's Memorial Day in Israel.

Just a week after Israelis paused to remember victims of the Nazi Holocaust, they again stood at attention on Wednesday.

At 11:00 a.m., the two-minute siren wailed to honor the 23,320 fallen soldiers and civilian victims of war and terrorism.

Traffic stopped and drivers and pedestrians stood silently as they remembered friends and family members who gave their lives to defend the State of Israel.

The IDF's official ceremony in Jerusalem, held at Mt. Herzl military cemetery, began at 10:30 a.m. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, and senior military and government officials attended.

The official ceremony in Tel Aviv took place simultaneously at Kiryat Shaul military cemetery. Defense Secretary Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF chief of staff, told attendees some still don't accept "our right to a national Jewish home and they will do everything they can to cause to stray and disrupt our lives," The Jerusalem Post quoted the defense minister.

To meet these challenges, Ya'alon said, Israel must maintain a top notch defense establishment made up of "excellent people."

On this day, Israeli television and radio broadcasting devotes itself to remembrance. Many Israelis will visit the gravesites of their loved ones.

On Tuesday evening, memorial ceremonies took place in cities and towns countrywide.

Shortly after sundown this evening, Israelis will make the amazing leap from mourning to rejoicing as they begin to celebrate Israel's 67th Independence Day.

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