Israel began marking Israeli Memorial Day the night before with sirens Tuesday night, remembering the 23,741 Israeli soldiers who have fallen and the 3,150 victims of terrorism. Soldiers and all observers bowed their heads in a minute of silence for the victims.
President Reuven Rivlin recalled the horrific events being commemorated and the tension in Gaza. The Israeli president and chief of Israeli defense forces spoke at an official state event at the Wailing Wall.
Last year 95 soldiers were killed defending their country. The total figure of 23,741 includes 40 disabled veterans who died due to complications from injuries and wounds sustained during military service.
Memorial Day was marked during a time of increased tension following an attack by hundreds of rockets by Islamic militants in Gaza against Israel. The conflict escalated over the weekend when the Israeli military struck more than 350 targets in the Gaza Strip in response. According to the Israeli military Palestinians shot 700 rockets into Israel starting on the morning of May 4 and the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system shot down 240 of these. Four Israelis were killed and several more were severely wounded, with dozens more also wounded.
Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon published a piece on the Lithuanian news website 15min.lt in Lithuanian about the reality of living with a 15-second warning of impending missile attack. The article is here.