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Israel commemorates 23,741 fallen soldiers, 3,150 terror victims

The main national ceremony, which takes place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and others.

A second siren will sound at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, launching the daytime commemoration ceremonies for fallen soldiers centered on Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. A ceremony commemorating terror victims will be held at 1 p.m.

In a poignant juxtaposition, the day will transition from mourning to joy Wednesday evening at the onset of Independence Day. The shift is marked with a national torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl that will usher in Israel’s 71st birthday.

The commemoration day, established in 1951 by then-prime minister and defense minister David Ben-Gurion, was set for the 4th of Iyar on the Jewish calendar, the day before Independence Day, which begins immediately after Memorial Day.