On the evening of April 13, 2021, the eve of Yom Hazikaron, which this year falls on April 14, the residents of Israel will once again bow their heads in mourning to honor their 23,928 fallen soldiers and civilian victims of war and terrorism. At 8:00 p.m., a minute-long siren will sound throughout the country. During that minute, most Israelis pause in silence, remembering the victims and showing their respect.
After the siren, a memorial ceremony with torches takes place at the Wailing Wall, in the presence of President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Aviv Kohavi. During this act, the Israeli flag will be flown at half-mast.
A two-minute siren sound will be heard the following morning at 11:00 a.m., at the opening of official memorial services and private remembrance gatherings. At 1:00 p.m., a ceremony commemorating the victims of terrorism will take place on Mount Herzl, with the participation of President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of General Staff Kohavi.
This year, for the first time, the World Zionist Organization, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, has created a pre-recorded Yom Hazikaron ceremony for Jewish communities worldwide. The forty-two minute program was filmed on Mount Herzl (subtitles available in English, Youtube.com)
Celebrating Memorial Day just before Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut (April 15, 2021), is intended to remind people of the price that had to be paid for independence and what was achieved through the sacrifice of soldiers. This transition shows the importance of this day for all Israelis, most of whom served in the army and are connected to people who were killed during their time in the military.
Israel’s declaration of independence took place on May 14, 1948, and in 1949 Yom Haatzmaut was established as a national holiday to commemorate the proclamation of the Jewish state by David Ben-Gurion. Independence Day begins on the eve with a central commemoration ceremony at which the Chairman of the Knesset gives a speech and twelve torches, symbolic of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, are lit. Since 1953, the Israel Prize has also been awarded on this occasion. In addition, the International Youth Bible Quiz is held in Jerusalem. Many places end the celebrations with fireworks.