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'We will remember' - 1,533 Israeli citizens and soldiers have fallen since Hamas invasion on Oct 7

Israel prepares to commemorate the fallen on Memorial Day

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, May 2024 (Photo: IDF).

Israeli authorities traditionally publish the latest figures regarding Israel’s overall population, including those citizens and soldiers killed by terrorists and in the line of duty, in the days leading up to the national observance of Memorial Day, followed by Independence Day.

Memorial Day this year will take place on Monday, May 13, and is shaping up to be especially difficult for Israelis across the globe.

Since the Hamas invasion on the morning of Oct. 7, a total of 822 Israeli citizens and 711 soldiers have been killed in the State of Israel. Those 1,533 deaths were due to terrorism or war, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry and the National Social Security Agency.

“The Day of Remembrance for the Martyrs of Israel’s Wars and the Victims of Hostilities is celebrated this year in the shadow of war,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi wrote in a letter addressed to IDF soldiers.

“The ‘Iron Swords’ war was forced upon us due to a murderous surprise attack launched from the south, and is still ongoing in many areas,” he continued.

“The nation continues to mourn the deaths of civilians who were murdered in their homes, our colleagues, the members of the security and rescue forces, and the victims of the IDF, who fell on duty on the day the war broke out and in the battles that have taken place since then," he continued, recalling the events of the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iranian terror proxies.

“We will remember the fallen as they were in their lives, what they managed to accomplish, the dreams, ambitions, and the act that has not yet been completed. We will remember the last moments of their heroism, the value-based and brave decisions they made to fulfill their oath to be a protector of their people,” Halevi vowed.

The funeral of Israeli soldier Staff sergeant Haim Sabach at the Holon Military Cemetery on May 9, 2024 (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90).

In a speech on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed that Israel would continue to defend itself, even in the face of grief and mourning.

"We have no choice, we have no other country. We will do whatever is necessary, and I repeat - whatever is necessary, in order to defend the citizens of Israel, to remove the evil threats against us, and to stand up to those who attempt to destroy us," Gallant said.

The Israelis who were killed left behind a staggering number of bereaved family members.

Among the families of the 822 Israeli civilians who were murdered by Hamas terrorists, there are 630 orphans, 177 widows and widowers, 1,355 siblings and 693 bereaved parents.

Among the families of the 711 IDF soldiers who perished while fighting Hamas, there are 1,294 bereaved parents, 248 widows, 520 orphans, and 2,174 bereaved siblings.

The ministry’s statement also stressed that 216 days after the massacre, 132 hostages remained in Hamas captivity, including 65 civilians.

“We unite with the memory of those who have fallen since the days of Israel’s return to its land, from the end of two thousand years of exile, the battles to defend the renewed Jewish settlement, the War of Independence and in all the conflicts in the 76-year struggle for our independence in the State of Israel,” Halevi wrote.

The death toll from all wars since the establishment of the Jewish settlement in the land of Israel in the 19th century now stands at 25,034, with 5,100 (20%) of citizens falling victim to terror attacks.

In the months before Oct. 7, 12 civilians were added to the death toll from terrorist attacks, including the late Hana Tova Nachenberg Feiner, who was wounded in the attack on the ‘Sbarro’ restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001 and died of her wounds this year.

Due to the anticipated large turnout of family members at this year's memorial ceremonies in cemeteries across the country, authorities have asked the public to give precedence to the families and visit cemeteries after the official memorials have concluded.

Memorial Day will begin with a one-minute siren that will be heard all over the country at 8 pm on Sunday.

The following day, a two-minute silent siren will sound at 11 a.m. to mark the beginning of the state memorial ceremonies to be held in the 52 military cemeteries and memorial sites across Israel.

At 11:02 a.m., fighter jets will fly over the military cemetery on Mount Herzl to mark the beginning of the national memorial ceremony for the martyrs of Israel’s conflicts.

“The memory of the fallen is forever engraved in our hearts, and our duty to all of them is one: To be a protector of our people in their land and home and a refuge for the Jewish people from every enemy that acts against us from near and far,” IDF chief Halevi wrote.

“In times of war, their legacy strengthens us to do everything in our power to ensure the peace and safety of the country's citizens. With combined forces and unity of purpose, we will remain prepared on all fronts and against any challenge.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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