On the eve of Yom Kippur, President Reuven Rivlin said he is asking for forgiveness for "not doing enough" for Israelis who have lost their lives this year to COVID-19.
Israel has been battling a second wave of COVID-19 for the past few months, with the surging number of new cases showing no sign of declining. As of Sunday morning, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country now stands at 1,450.
In a special message to the Israeli public in honor of the holiest day of the year in Judaism, the president said he will dedicate a prayer and light a candle in the memory of coronavirus victims.
"The coronavirus pandemic and its victims have caused me to think about those who have lost their lives, about the invisible angel of death which does its terrible work of taking lives in isolated emergency rooms without families there to part from them with a last touch, holding hands, stroking faces," said Rivlin.
"May we remember those pioneers and founders, Holocaust survivors, veteran immigrants, fighters and creators, students of Torah and worshippers of the Lord, Jews and Arabs, old and young."
The president also appears to have aimed a thinly-veiled dig at the government for not doing enough during the crisis by saying he prays to "our Father, our King" to give Israeli leaders "the understanding and the strength to lead us to peace".
He called on Israelis and Jews around the world to light memorial candles in memory of over one thousand Israeli victims of coronavirus. "May the souls of our brothers and sisters, the victims of the pandemic, be bound in the bond of life, and may we say Amen."