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Desk of Esther

They hurt individually, we honour their pain and loss as a nation

A message from Esther Mor for Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terror)

April 15, 2018

To Presidents and Chairpersons of World WIZO Federations

Dear Friends,

In Israel sorrow and joy are intertwined. On Yom HaZikaron – National Remembrance Day, we honour the memory of our fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. The next day on Independence Day, we celebrate the life, independence and sovereignty they bestowed upon us by paying the ultimate price.


Yom Hazikaron Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism is the National Remembrance Day observed in Israel for all Israeli military personnel who lost their lives in the struggle that led to the establishment of the State of Israel,  and for those who were killed while on active duty in Israel’s armed forces, in 7 wars, dozens of campaigns and manoeuvers and  thousands of skirmishes.   Todate  that number is 23,645. While Yom Hazikaron has been traditionally dedicated to fallen soldiers, commemoration has also been extended to civilian victims of terrorism.

National memorial services are held in the presence of Israel's top leadership and military personnel. The commemeration  will open with a siren on Tuesday 17 April 2018 at  8:00 pm. The siren is heard all over the country and lasts for one minute, during which Israelis stop everything, including driving on highways, and stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect. Special prayers prescribed by the Israeli rabbinate are recited. These include the recital of Psalms 9: "For the leader, on the death of the son," and Psalm 144: "Blessed be the Lord, My Rock, who traineth my hands for war and my fingers for battle" in addition to memorial prayers for the fallen – Yizkor. The official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the Kotel.


Memorial candles are lit in homes, army camps, schools, synagogues, and public places, and the flags are lowered to half-mast.. Ceremonies are also held at schools and by youth organizations. Our WIZO schools and villages will hold ceremonies for their graduates that fell. 

A two-minute siren will be sounded  at 11:00 am the following morning, which marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies and private remembrance gatherings at each cemetery where soldiers are buried. Many Israelis visit the resting places of loved ones throughout the day. The day officially draws to a close at sundown (between 7–8 p.m.) in a ceremony at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzl, marking the start of Israel's  Independence Day, when the flag of Israel is returned to full mast.


Nearly every family in Israel has lost family members, friends, neighbours and/or has relations who were injured during active duty and remain war invalids. For those left with serious physical or mental handicaps, the struggle for them and their families is never over. For them Yom HaZikaron is especially painful.  

In addition to the Ministry of Defense, municipalities and charities that support the families of fallen soldiers, their military units also stay in contact and make sure the families are not alone in their grief and hardship. They hurt individually, we honour their pain and loss as a nation.

Please join us in Israel  in praying Yizkor: - The Memorial Prayer in Honor of Yom HaZikaron :

"May the nation of Israel remember its sons and daughters, faithful and courageous— The soldiers of the Israel Defense forces, and all members of the undergrounds and brigades, the warriors in the battles at sea, members of the intelligence community, security personnel, policemen, and those in the prison service — Who gave up their lives in war to ensure the existence of Israel. And all of whom that were killed within Israel and outside of Israel at the hands of murderers and terrorists. May the nation of Israel and the Exalted one remember the radiance of the youthfulness, the delightfulness, heroism, purity of their will, and the selflessness of those who fell in the costly wars. May the fallen of the wars of Israel be crowns of victory and may their names be inscribed upon the hearts of Israel for all 

Warm regards,


Esther Mor,
President, World WIZO

Photo credits: WIkipedia