Commemorating Israel’s Fallen On Yom HaZikaron

May 1st 2017

Yom HaZikaron’s full name means Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. It is Israel’s national remembrance day for those who have died since 1860, when the Jews were first permitted to live in Palestine, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

This year Yom HaZikaron begins on Sunday night, April 30th and continues until the Independence day celebrations begin on Monday night, May 1st. The scheduling of Yom HaZikaron right before Yom Ha’Atzmaut is meant to remind people of the sacrifices made for independence and what was realized from the soldiers’ sacrifice and helps Israelis learn to appreciate what they have on a deeper level.


Yom HaZikaron eve: A one-minute siren will be heard throughout Israel at 8:00 PM on April 30th, during which Israelis stop everything and stand in silence. Restaurants, theaters, and other places of entertainment are closed this evening as a sign of mourning. Regular television and radio programming are suspended for the entire 24-hour period, with historical movies and specials shown. One of the government-owned TV stations displays the names of all fallen in chronological order with their rank and both Hebrew and secular date deceased.

The official ceremony to mark the beginning of Yom HaZikaron takes place at the Western Wall (Kotel), and the Israeli flag is lowered to half-mast. Ceremonies are held in communities throughout Israel, memorializing fallen soldiers and victims of terror in that community.

Yom HaZikaron Day

A two-minute siren will be sounded at 11:00 AM on May 1st, during which everyone again stops and stands in silence. This siren indicates the opening of the official memorial day ceremonies and private remembrances at military cemeteries. Many Israelis visit the graves of loved ones throughout the day. Yom HaZikaron officially comes to a close at sundown in a ceremony at the national military cemetery, Mount Herzl, where the Israeli flag is raised once again.

This also marks the beginning of Israel’s Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut.