Yom Hazikaron, the Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and for Terror Victims is marked every year on the fourth of Iyar (towards the end of April or beginning of May,) one week after the Holocaust Remembrance Day and two weeks after Pesach (Passover.) The day is dedicated to commemorating the country’s soldiers and members of security forces, the memory of the fallen from the pre-state undergrounds, and to victims of terrorism.
Yom Hazikaron was formally decreed by law in 1963, but the practice of commemorating the fallen on this day started in 1951 to mark the connection between Independence Day and the people who died to achieve and maintain this independence.
The day starts on the evening of the fourth of Iyar and ends the following evening with the opening of the Independence Day celebrations. By law, all places of entertainment are closed on Yom Hazikaron, ceremonies commemorating the fallen are held throughout the country, and flags are flown at half-mast. On the eve of Yom Hazikaron a siren is sounded at 8 p.m. and again at 11 a.m. on the following morning. It is customary to stand in silence when the sirens are sounded.
Commemoration ceremonies are held in urban centers, public buildings and cemeteries and TV and radio are devoted to the subject.
Yom Hazikaron Customs
There is hardly anybody in Israel who has not lost a family member, friend or acquaintance in Israel’s wars, which makes this day significant for every Israeli. Many go to commemoration ceremonies, and family members of the fallen go on this day to military cemeteries.