Israel is set to pay tribute to 23,169 casualties of war and terrorism who have fallen since 1860.
On Sunday evening, events marking the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism will be held around the country.
The Defense Ministry said 57 newly fallen had been added to the casualty count since the last Day of Remembrance in 2013, and that an additional 50 disabled IDF veterans died due to their disability.
The number of bereaved family members stands at 17,038, of which 2,141 are orphans, and 4,966are IDF widows.
The Defense Ministry is preparing for the arrival of over a million and a half people at military cemeteries across the country.
A minute-long siren will ring out on Sunday at 8 p.m., marking the start of the Day of Remembrance. A two-minute siren will be heard on Monday, at 11 a.m, marking the start of official memorial ceremonies that will be held at 52 military cemeteries.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon lit a virtual candle on Thursday, using a Facebook application to mark Memorial Day, and said, "Remembering the fallen is a moral debt we all have, since through their deaths, they promised us life," Ya'alon said.
On Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz placed a flag on the gravestone of a fallen soldier at the military cemetery in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem.
"The gravestones of the fallen look similar, and the earth that covers them is the same earth – the soil of Israel which they loved – but each and every one of the soldiers buried here is a unique shade of Israeli society," he said. "They united for one common goal, safeguarding the security of the state of Israel."
|By YAAKOV LAPPIN