Yom Hazikaron (Hebrew: יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן; lit.
"Memorial Day"), in full
Yom Hazikaron l'Chalalei Ma'arachot Yisrael
ul'Nifge'ei Pe'ulot Ha'eivah (Hebrew:יוֹם הזִּכָּרוֹן
לַחֲלָלֵי מַעֲרָכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל
וּלְנִפְגְעֵי פְּעוּלוֹת הָאֵיבָה;
lit. "Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of
Israel and Victims of
Terrorism"), is Israel's official remembrance day, enacted into
law in 1963. While
Yom Hazikaron has been traditionally dedicated
to fallen soldiers, commemoration has also been extended to civilian
victims of terrorism.
4 See also
6 External links
An IDF officer places new flags, each with a black ribbon, on the
graves of IDF soldiers for Yom Hazikaron.
IDF soldiers at
Yom Hazikaron ceremony, 2007
Bedouin Soldiers Memorial.
In 1949 and 1950, the first two years after the declaration of the
State, memorial services for soldiers who fell in the War of
Independence were held on Independence Day. Services at military
cemeteries were coordinated between the IDF and the Ministry of
Defense. A concern arose, expressed by families of fallen soldiers, to
establish a separate memorial day observance distinct from the festive
celebrations of national independence. In response, and in light of
public debate on the issue, Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion – also
serving as Minister of Defense – established in January 1951 the
"Public Council for Soldiers' Commemoration". This council recommended
establishing the 4th of Iyyar, the day preceding Independence Day, as
the "General Memorial Day for the Heroes of the War of Independence".
This proposal won government approval that same year.
Yom Hazikaron is the national remembrance day observed in
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
have been killed subsequently while on active duty in Israel’s armed
forces. As of
Yom Hazikaron in 2017 that number was 23,544.
By law, all places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Yom
Hazikaron, and broadcasting and educational bodies note the solemnity
of the day. Regular television programs cease for the day, and the
names and ranks of every soldier who died for
Israel are displayed in
a 24-hour television broadcast.
Memorial candles are lit in homes, army camps, schools, synagogues,
and public places, and the flags are lowered to half staff. Throughout
the day serving and retired military personnel serve as honor guards
at war memorials throughout the country, and the families of the
fallen participate in memorial ceremonies at military cemeteries.
National memorial services are held in the presence of Israel's top
leadership and military personnel. The day opens with a siren the
preceding evening at 20:00 (8:00 pm), given that in the Hebrew
calendar system, a day begins at sunset. The siren is heard all over
the country and lasts for one minute, during which
everything, including driving on highways, and stand in silence,
commemorating the fallen and showing respect.
Many traditional and religious Jews say prayers for the souls of the
fallen soldiers on Yom Hazikaron.
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 dead. The
official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the
A two-minute siren is sounded at 11:00 the following morning, which
marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies and private
remembrance gatherings at each cemetery where soldiers are buried.
Israelis visit the resting places of loved ones throughout the
day. The day officially draws to a close at sundown (between 19:00 and
20:00; 7–8 p.m.) in a ceremony at the national military cemetery on
Mount Herzl, marking the start of
Israel Independence Day, when
the flag of
Israel is returned to full staff.
Channel 33 has screened the names of all civilians killed in pogroms
since 1851, and all fallen from 1860 (considered the date of the
beginning of the
Yishuv by the Israeli Ministry of Defense), in
chronological order (rank, name, Hebrew date deceased and secular
date) over the course of the day.  This has been mentioned in the
West Wing episode "Memorial Day"; However, it is unknown whether
or not this will continue following the replacement of the Israeli
Broadcasting Authority by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation.
Yom Hazikaron right before
Yom Ha-Atzma'ut is intended to
remind people of the price paid for independence and of what was
achieved with the soldiers' sacrifice. This transition shows the
importance of this day among Israelis, most of whom have served in the
armed forces or have a connection with people who were killed during
their military service.
To avoid the possibility of Sabbath desecration should either Yom
Hazikaron or Yom Ha'atzma'ut take place on Saturday night, both are
observed one or two days earlier (the 3rd and 4th, or the 2nd and 3rd,
of Iyar) when the 5th of
Iyar falls on a Friday or Saturday (Shabbat).
Yom Hazikaron falls on Saturday night/Sunday day, both
observances are rescheduled to one day later.
Culture of Israel
Israeli casualties of war
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yom Hazikaron.
^ States News Service (24 April 2012). "'We Will Fulfill the Last Will
of the Fallen – to Defend Our Home in Israel' (IDF Press Release)".
Retrieved 15 April 2013. (subscription)
^ "Yom Hazikaron: Israel's Memorial Day". My Jewish Learning.
Retrieved 17 April 2012.
^ "Yom Ha-Zikaron – Israeli Memorial Day". Jewish Virtual Library.
2013. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
Associated Press (27 April 2009). "
fallen IDF soldiers, terror victims". Haaretz. Retrieved 15 April
^ a b "Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers". Knesset. 2009.
Retrieved 25 April 2012.
^ a b c d e Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 16, p. 846 (1971)
^ Winer, Stuart; Pileggi, Tamar (30 April 2017). "Israel's annual
Memorial Day begins for 23,544 fallen soldiers". The Times of Israel.
Retrieved 1 May 2017.
^ Pelaia, Ariela (19 April 2010). "
Yom HaZikaron –
Day". About.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
^ "Some members of the religious Zionist (national religious)
community has [sic] also added special prayers to the prayer service
for the evening prayers on Yom Ha-Zikaron." Jewish Virtual Library,
Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) 2012 in Jerusalem". Go Jerusalem.
2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
^ "23,477 fallen remembered in ceremonies across Israel; siren to
sound at 11". The Jerusalem Post JPost.com. Retrieved
^ "Siren Ushers in Israel's Memorial Day". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
24 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. ...culminating with a
torch-lighting ceremony on
Mount Herzl at 8 p.m., which ushers in Yom
^ "2015 Memorial Day post". Official
Facebook page of the former
Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
^ "The West Wing's Leo McGarry on Israel's Memorial Day".
^ "About Yom HaZikaron".
Israel Ministry of Tourism. 2011. Retrieved
25 April 2012. ...the practice of commemorating the fallen on this day
started in 1951 to mark the connection between Independence Day and
the people who died to achieve and maintain this independence.
^ Sabag, Asher (2007). "Parshat Yom Ha'atzma'ut". Archived from the
original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
Remembrance Day—Independence Day – Selected Readings
Jewish and Israeli holidays and observances
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Ten Days of Repentance
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Counting of the Omer
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Holidays / memorial days
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Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day)
Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day)
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