by Yona Schnitzer
More than a million and a half Israelis are expected to visit the 52 different military cemeteries throughout the country as well as thousands of other graves throughout the country in civilian cemeteries, on this Memorial Day for the fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.
Since Memorial Day last year, 71 soldiers have lost their lives, as well as 30 more who passed away due to injuries incurred in service. The most recent IDF soldier to lose his life in the line of duty was Sgt. Eliyahu Drori, who was killed in a tank accident in the south last weekend.
On Saturday, Yitzhak Dreksler, 67, who was severely wounded in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, passed away due to complications caused by his injury.
The number of soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty since the first days of Zionist activity in Israel in 1860 stands at 23,645, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defense.
Twelve civilians fell victim to terrorist attacks over the past year, the most recent of whom was Adiel Kolman, a security guard who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem’s old city in March. A total of 3,134 people have lost lives to terrorism since the 19th Century, according to the National Insurance Institute.
On Monday, Israeli flags were laid on each and every military grave on Mt. Herzl. This year, for the first time, the official Memorial Day Ceremony on Mt. Herzl will be commemorating the fallen civilians alongside the soldiers who fell in the line of duty. The ceremony will begin Wednesday morning at 11 am, with the sounding of sirens.