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 Holiday Central > Yom Hazikaron
Yom Hazikron: Israel's Memorial Day
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Yom Hazikaron - Israel's Memorial Day (Hebrew: יום הזכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל ולנפגעי פעולות האיבה  lit. Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day) is a day when Israel honors its fallen soldiers as well and its civilian terror victims. Yom Hazikaron is observed annually, usually on the fourth day of the month of Iyar one day before Israel's Independence Day. The observance and celebration of these days are at times held a day early when they fall on Friday, or postponed when they commence on Sunday, so that the activities do not desecrate the holiness of Shabbat.

Yom Hazikaron is a national day of mourning, an observance which is shared by the religious and not religious alike.  Observance of Yom Hazikaron became a national Memorial day, when the Knesset legislated it in 1963, marking the fourth day of Iyar (always one day before Independence day) the "Heroes Remembrance Day" in honor of the soldiers who gave their lives to the creation and protection of the State of Israel.  In 1980 the law was expanded to include all those killed in action during pre-State battles. These days, Yom Hazikaron commemorate all fallen soldiers, policemen and border guards who sacrificed their lives in defense of Israel and its citizens as well as the victims of Arab Terror who were murdered just because they are Jews living in the land of Israel.

Yom Hazikaron is marked by the closure of all public places, including most restaurants and public entertainment venues such as theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and bars.

One remarkable feature of the day is the sound of the siren which is heard throughout Israel twice that day. During the sounding of the sirens, the entire country observes a two minute “standstill” in which all traffic and daily activities grind to a halt. The usually boisterous and loud Israeli citizenry stand in solemn and respectful silence as the eerie sound of the sirens permeate the air.

An official ceremony marking the commencement of this day is conducted at the Western Wall at which time the Israeli flag is flown at half mast. Though not a historic religious day, a special yizkor and kaddish prayers for the fallen soldiers are read at Yom Hazikaron ceremonies, many of which take place in military cemeteries. A special ceremony is held in the Mt. Herzl Military cemetery in Jerusalem for the fallen policemen and border guard soldiers. Some synagogues add special prayers to the usual evening prayers service on the eve of Yom Hazikaron.

Though not wide spread, many schools and synagogues outside of Israel commemorate the day, but most of the diaspora communities honor Yom Hazikaron with a short ceremony at the beginning of the Yom Haatzmaut, Israel's Independence day celebrations, which is observed the day after Yom Hazikaron.


Mazor Guide to Yom Hazikaron brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.

MazorGuide Recommended Reading

Yom Hazikaron--Israel Memorial Day (4th of Iyar): Assaf will always be twenty-one. (Israel).: An article from: Midstream
~ Bernard Kaplan (Author)
[HTML] (Digital)

Princes Among Men: Memories of Eight Young Souls (Hardcover)
~ Yaakov Cohney (Editor)
On Rosh Chodesh Adar II, 5758 - March 6, 2008 - a terrorist infiltrated the Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav -Yeshivat Yerushalayim L'Tzeirim (Yashlatz high school) shared campus and killed eight young students of the two yeshivot while injuring dozens more. Throughout Israel and the larger Jewish world people were shocked and horrified. Reaching out to each other over the void of our loss, their friends and classmates discovered that remembering those precious souls by telling and retelling stories of their scholarship and fine midos was a great comfort. They discovered that each of the young men lost in the attack, though still in the bud of first youth, was already a proven tzaddik. This precious book contains a collection of impressions, recollections and divrei Torah written by family members, friends and teachers of the eight boys. May this book serve as a memorial to these eight young men who lived a life of faith. Faithful to Hashem, His Torah and His people.


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