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A two-minute siren is sounded at 8 in the evening, when Yom Hazikaron begins, and 11 in the morning, when all Israelis across the country drop what they were doing and stand in silence in order to commemorate Israel’s fallen. 

Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, is a solemn day in Israel. It is not a day to go to a BBQ, play football or basketball, and enjoy the outdoors. Instead, it is a day to remember the fallen soldiers who died protecting the Jewish state and the victims of terror.

Between 1920 and 2012, 24,526 Israelis were killed as a result of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Thousands of terror victims died, and many more were wounded. More Israelis died during Israel’s War of Independence (6,273) than during any other war that Israel fought. On Yom HaZikaron, Israelis always remember these statistics, as well as the stories behind these statistics.

Every Yom HaZikaron, this author thinks about one particular story behind the statistics – a first cousin of her husband, Hanit Arami, who grew up in Zichron Ya’akov in northern Israel, was an excellent student and loved by everyone. A 19-year-old IDF soldier serving in an intelligence unit, she was waiting by a bus stop, on the way home to see her family. Then, suddenly, a terrorist who could not enter the train station decided to detonate himself by the bus stop where she was standing, specifically because she was in uniform.

The young woman’s mother, Carmella, never recovered from this tragedy. Since the terror attack, she hasn’t been able to work and suffers from epileptic seizures. Previously known as a cheerful person, she has become significantly more serious and sad. Her husband Shlomo was also forced to work less due to injury, resulting in a drastic reduction in income for the family.

In their neighborhood is a memorial dedicated to Hanit, and every year on Yom HaZikaron evening, a specific IDF military base within the city has a special memorial, where her name is mentioned along with all of the other Israelis from Zichron Ya’akov who were killed by Arab terrorists. In addition to reciting their names, they usually sing sad songs and have victims of terrorism speak.

In addition to military bases across the country holding memorials on Yom HaZikaron, Israeli high schools have ceremonies for students to remember their friends who were killed. A two-minute siren is sounded at 8 in the evening, when Yom Hazikaron begins, and 11 in the morning, when all Israelis across the country drop what they were doing and stand in silence in order to commemorate Israel’s fallen.

By: Rachel Avraham, United with Israel

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