Israel's Memorial Day ceremonies begin

April 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM
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JERUSALEM, April 14 (UPI) -- Israel observed its Memorial Day -- Yom Hazikaron -- Sunday with a ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other officials.

Defense Ministry figures show the total number of Israel's fallen is 23,085. Ninety-two names have been added since last Memorial Day, Haaretz of Tel Aviv reported.

The Jewish people "have always had to fight for our liberty and our existence," Netanyahu said during the event.

"The haters of Israel deported us, persecuted us and wished to erase the memory of Israel," he said. "Today, too, there are those who threaten to destroy us. They have not succeeded; they will never succeed. We do not wish to fight, but if forced, we will wield our sword and step out into the battlefield.

"Only a mighty defense will ensure we are not harmed," he said. "My family, too, paid the price of Israel's independence. I have also experienced the pain of loss."

A siren sounded throughout the country for 1 minute at 8 p.m., announcing the beginning of Memorial Day. A 2-minute siren will sound Monday, Haaretz reported.

National Insurance Institute statistics show 2,493 civilians, including 120 foreigners, have been killed in terror attacks since the end of the War of Independence in 1948. Since 2000, when the second intifada began, 974 civilians have been killed in terror attacks, 10 of them in the past year.

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