Among those being honored are the 116 soldiers and civilians who were killed or died in the last year.
JERUSALEM — Israel recognizeds 23,320 fallen soldiers as well as civilian victims of terror on Yom Hazikaron, or Memorial Day, which began Tuesday night with a minute-long siren.
Among those being honored were the 116 soldiers and civilians who were killed or died in the last year, including 67 soldiers and five civilians killed in Israel’s operation in Gaza last summer.
Among those recognized as a terror victim on Israel’s national memorial was Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and burned alive by Jews in a revenge killing last summer.
Khdeir is the first Arab killed by Jews to be added to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial at Mount Herzl and also appears on the government’s official list of terror victims, the director of Mount Herzl, Hagai Admon, told The Times of Israel.
His father, Hussein, told Ynet on Tuesday that “this is a great initiative meant to honor my son, but I’m more interested with something else entirely: For the court to do justice with those who burned my son alive and sentence them to the appropriate punishment.”
Khdeir’s killing came after three Jewish teens were found murdered last year.
The figure of 23,320 fallen soldiers is calculated from 1860, when Jews first began to settle outside of Jerusalem. The dead include members of the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad, the Israel Police, the Israel Prisons Service and the World War II Jewish Brigade, and include soldiers who died from their disabilities suffered during combat, including 35 such soldiers this year.
“On Remembrance Day, the Israeli nation, as one big family, bows its head and unites with the memories of all of the fallen of Israel’s wars as a moral obligation to those who in their death commanded us to live. So that we may be worthy of them,” Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon wrote after lighting a virtual candle on a memorial website of his ministry that allows the public to light the virtual candles and leave messages.
On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the grave of his brother, Yonatan, who died in 1976 during the rescue of kidnapped Israelis in Entebbe, Uganda.
Netanyahu has visited the grave ahead of Memorial Day since taking office in order to avoid disturbing bereaved families on the actual day.
On Sunday, the prime minister met with children who lost their fathers during the fathers’ military service.
More than 1.5 million Israelis were expected to visit military cemeteries throughout Yom Hazikaron, which continued through Wednesday night and transitioned to the start of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.