5 Poignant Memorials to Visit in Israel

February 25th 2019

Wherever you go in the world, memorials reflect the achievements, heroism, or tragedies that form the narrative of that land or culture. And this is no less the case than in Israel, where such terrible calamity and suffering is still within living memory.

Poignant memorials are everywhere in this brave little country. From north to south there are reminders of heroic battles, noble leaders, victims of terrorism, and of course, those who perished in the Holocaust (Shoah).

And it’s to some of these poignant memorials we recommend you visit when next touring Israel, including:

Yad Vashem

Located on the western slope of Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the 6 million Jews who died in the Shoah. Established less than a decade after the camps were liberated, the museum is the world’s center for the documentation and commemoration of the Holocaust.

Visiting Yad Vashem is an extremely moving experience. The museum focuses on the individual victims and survivors, telling their stories through survivor testimonies, photographs and films, original artifacts, and personal possessions, and maybe most importantly of all, the simple sharing of their names and faces.

Forest of the Martyrs

In the hills on the outskirts of Jerusalem, there’s a forest containing approximately 6 million trees. The Forest of the Martyrs was first planted back in the early 1950s as a memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust. Today it’s a thriving woodland and a testament to the survival of the Jewish people.

Within the forest is a large 26-foot-high bronze sculpture shaped like a double Torah scroll. It was created by a Holocaust survivor. The Scroll of Fire depicts scenes from the Shoah as well as more hopeful scenes from the birth of the modern State of Israel.

Rabin Square

Rabin Square is the assassination location of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He was shot by an ultra-nationalist after a peace rally in 1995 in what was then called the Kings of Israel Square. The assassination shocked the nation and ever since, the square has been preserved as a memorial to the statesman.

A smaller memorial within the Square, made from 16 basalt rocks from the Galilee, was designed by sculptress Yael Ben-Artzi. Graffiti messages of sorrow and tribute, written shortly after the shooting, have been preserved. The words of Rabin’s speech that day have also been engraved into the Square’s steps.

9/11 Living Memorial Plaza

On a hill just outside Jerusalem sits a memorial for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. The 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza is in the Arazim Valley to the north east of the Holy City. It takes the form of a fluttering American flag and is made of granite, bronze and aluminum. It’s the only memorial outside the United States that features every name of the nearly 3000 victims.

From the memorial you can see right across the valley including a view of Jerusalem’s main cemetery Har HaMenuchot.

Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial

Situated in the Mount Herzl National Cemetery is a memorial for the Victims of Acts of Terror in Israel. The memorial was erected in 1998 after a grassroots effort to recognize not only military casualties but also civilian casualties of terrorism from the early Zionist era to the modern day.

The memorial features a series of stone walls with black marble plaques on which are the names of civilian terrorism victims, dating all the way back to 1851. It was designed to portray the resolute nature of the Jewish people towards those who seek to destroy Israel.