Israel came to a standstill to the sound of sirens on Tuesday evening, commemorating its annual Memorial Day of fallen soldiers and terror victims.
The official Memorial Day pays tribute to soldiers killed during their military service and wars, as well as the civilian victims of attacks, Xinhua news agency reported.
During a memorial service earlier in the day, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called for unity amid growing political polarization and internal divisions in the Israeli society.
“Young men of just 19 or 20, who won’t be coming back. I cannot speak in their names, but I believe that this is what they would want to ask of us: Continue to live together. Don’t let arguments divide our people from within,” he said.
After the sirens, the main ceremony held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem was attended by President Isaac Herzog, Chief of Forces Aviv Kochavi, senior military and police officers, and bereaved families.
Multiple other ceremonies and memorials will be held across the country in the upcoming 24 hours, from late Tuesday to Wednesday evening.
According to figures issued on Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry, 24,068 soldiers, police officers, police wardens, Shin Bet security service workers, and Mossad agents have died while in duty since 1860. In addition, 4,216 civilians have died in attacks.