This evening marks the start of the most solemn day of the year in Israel - Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Memorial Day, the day that all Israel remembers the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who fell in its wars in defense of the country. This day is different in its character and mood from the American Memorial Day. For 24 hours (from sunset to sunset) all places of public entertainment (theaters, cinemas, nightclubs, pubs, etc.) are closed.
The most noticeable feature of the day is the sound of the siren that is heard throughout the country twice, during which the entire nation observes a two-minutes "standstill" of all traffic and daily activities. The first siren marks the beginning of Memorial Day at 8:00 P.M., and the second is at 11:00 A.M., before the public recitation of prayers in the military cemeteries. All radio and television stations broadcast programs portraying the lives and heroic deeds of fallen soldiers. Most of the broadcasting time is devoted to Israeli songs that convey the mood of the day.
Today we're participating in the spirit of Yom Hazikaron with a video tribute to the soldiers of the IDF. Tomorrow our mood will change to one of rejoicing as we join with the people of Israel and Jews around the world in celebrating Israel's 65th Independence Day.
Here is the prayer said every Shabbat in most synagogues around the world for the welfare of the IDF soldiers: