JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis across the country stood at attention for a minute-long siren marking the start of the 24-hour Yom HaZikaron, or Memorial Day.
The siren sounded at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. Over Memorial Day, Israel will remember the 23,544 men and women who have died defending the State of Israel and its pre-State Jewish population since the start of the Zionist movement in 1860.
The day also recalls the 3,117 terror victims who have been killed in the same time period.
Some 97 Israelis have been added to the count since last Memorial Day, including 37 disabled Israelis who have died of their injuries.
In a Memorial Day eve service at the Western Wall, the memorial torch was lit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the widow of Haggai Ben-Ari, flanked by two of her three young children, who succumbed in January to his injuries sustained during the 2014 Gaza war. He had been in a coma for 2 1/2 years and died at the age of 31.
“We know that there is a price to be paid for our existence here, for our liberty. There is a price, and we, in awe and terror, are willing to pay that price,” Rivlin said.