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President Peres said: "Israel was born out of a great dream, and built a reality greater than that dream. Today's IDF is stronger than ever, and possesses strategic wisdom and sophisticated technology. Peace will come thanks to the fallen troops."
Peres addresses bereaved families (Photo: Oz Meron)
"Your beloved ones had a crucial part in the achievements of the state," he said, addressing the bereaved families. "We shall forever remain indebted to your children. No act or gesture on our part can relieve your pain and the memories that will not vanish."
Soldiers observe moment of silence on Azrieli Bridge (Photo: Yaron Brener)
IDF chief Gantz said, "We have the duty to bridge the gaps, stand side by side and serve in the IDF, our army… If we manage to preserve our determination and maintain an inner peace, we will be able to gather the strength necessary to deter our enemies from our borders and allow for peace.
Soldiers honor memory of fallen troops on Gaza border (Photo: AP)
A memorial sing-along is also being held at the Knesset, and is attended by Knesset Speaker Rivlin and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, among others.
On Wednesday, various memorial services are to be held, concluding with a torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl at 8 pm.
Drivers stop to observe moment of silence in north Israel (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yeshuv)
Meanwhile, a letter addressed to Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein arrived at his office, warning the authorities to cancel the Independence Day ceremony "and move it to a closed venue before state officials are hurt."
The envelope included a newspaper clipping with an article about the fatal stage incident that occurred on Mount Herzl during rehearsals for the event, which is set to take place on Wednesday evening. The ministry filed a complaint with the police.
Threat letter sent to Public Diplomacy Ministry
A total of 126 new names have been added to the list of Israel's fallen soldiers and terrorism victims in the past year. Israel now has 10,524 bereaved families who have lost 22,993 loved ones. The families include 2,396 orphans and 4,992 widows.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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