Photo: AP
Memorial Day ceremony at Mount Olives military cemetery in Jerusalem
Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
Olmert: They gave their lives for us
Photo: Reuters

Olmert: I'll do everything to steer country to peace

During Jerusalem ceremony marking beginning of Memorial Day events, prime minister says ‘I will do everything in my power to strengthen Israel’s security, put country on road to peace. President Katsav during official ceremony at Western Wall: It is because of the fallen soldiers the State of Israel was established and was able to develop and flourish

Israel remembers 22,123 civilians and soldiers who lost their lives in wars and terror attacks: At precisely 8 p.m. sharp a one-minute siren was sounded all over Israel to mark the beginning of Memorial Day. During the official ceremony at Jerusalem’s Western Wall President Moshe Katsav said “Jewish history throughout the generations salutes the fallen today."


“It is because of the fallen soldiers the State of Israel was established and was able to develop and flourish,” the president said.


Olmert during ceremony at Givat Hatachmoshet (Photo: AFP) 


“The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were made possible because of them.”


Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said during the ceremony in Jerusalem that "We should not take our independence for granted. Those who wish to eradicate us have not passed from this world, and today their voice has become stronger."


"We must be strong in our will and our spirit to face the future challenges. Our unity as a people is essential to fortifying our walls," the chief of staff said in his speech.


Earlier, during a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Givat Hatachmoshet (Ammunition Hill) marking the beginning of the Memorial Day events, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said “the siren will be heard shortly… and the nation will be united in the commemoration of its fallen heroes and in the bereaved families’ grief.


Katsav and wife Gila (center) during Memorial Day ceremony (Photo: Gil Yochanan)   


“They (fallen) are our sons. They gave their lives for us. Our debt and respect to them is immeasurable,” Olmert said.


Addressing the bereaved families, the prime minister continued, “I will do everything in my power to strengthen Israel’s security and steer the country toward peace. I pray that young Israeli lives will not be cut short; I will try to achieve this sacred goal.”


Givat Hatachmoshet Memorial Day ceremony  


At 11 a.m. Tuesday another two-minute siren will sound, and State Memorial Day ceremonies will be held at 43 military cemeteries and near the memorial for the fallen Bedouin soldiers in the north.


Security at the events will be tight in light of the 85 alerts received ahead of Memorial Day. Police will be on the highest state of alert as of Tuesday, with an emphasis placed on security around the military cemeteries.


Since Independence Day 2005 138 Israelis were killed either in terror attacks or during IDF service.


Efrat Weiss and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 05.01.06, 17:55
 new comment
This will delete your current comment