Under lockdown, Israel braces for particularly somber Memorial Day

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State ceremonies honoring Israel’s 23,816 fallen will be held without audiences over restrictions imposed over the coronavirus pandemic. Nationwide lockdown to extend to Independence Day.

Israel braced to mark a particularly somber Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day on Monday evening, as events honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice were clouded by the restrictions imposed on the public over the coronavirus outbreak.

The government last week announced that as part of the efforts to curb the pandemic, which has so face infected over 15,000 Israelis and claimed 202 lives, a nationwide lockdown would be imposed, barring bereaved families from visiting military cemeteries.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett urged families to respect the curfew despite the additional anguish it inflicted on them, saying that imposing this radical measure on Memorial Day was not a decision made lightly but was nonetheless essential to fight the pandemic.

The police said it would not forcibly prevent bereaved families from visiting the graves of their loved ones. Seeking to spare the families any additional distress the government later decided to order municipalities to shutter all military plots as of 4 p.m. Monday to avoid potential public gatherings.

The traditional military honor guards will be placed outside Israel’s 52 military cemeteries and at all major monuments, as is customary.

The state ceremony marking the onset of Memorial Day will be held at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem without an audience. The ceremony, which will begin with a one-minute siren, will be televised on Israel’s three news channels and live-streamed on the IDF’s social media platforms.

A second, two-minute siren will sound nationwide at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Immediately after the sire, IAF jets will fly over the National Hall for Israel’s Fallen, featuring a special, missing formation.

The flyover will be followed by the state ceremony at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, which will also be televised.

The state ceremony honoring victims of terror will be held on Mount Herzl at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Israel’s fallen from 1860 to this week numbers 23,816, data released by the IDF ahead of Memorial Day said.

Forty-two deaths were added to Israel’s list of fallen soldiers between 2019’s Memorial Day and the current one, with another 33 disabled persons dying as a result of injuries sustained while in services.

Military personnel will light candles for all the fallen at the National Hall.

The lockdown will extend to Independence Day, marked this week between Tuesday evening and Wednesday night.

Originally posted at israelhayom.com


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