Today, Israel is observing Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. This is not only an important holiday, but because Israel is such a small country, almost every family is touched by a tragedy or knows someone who has died either as a soldier or as a victim of terror.
By law, all places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Yom Hazikaron, and broadcasting and educational bodies note the solemnity of the day. Regular television programs cease for the day, and the names and ranks of every soldier who died for Israel are displayed in a 24-hour television broadcast.
As we are surrounded by enemies and constantly at threat, it is important for everyone to remember these brave people, especially as we remember they are not volunteers, but rather service is required. Girls serve two years, from ages 18-20 and boys serve 3 years from ages 18-21.
This day of remembrance is then followed immediately by Israel Independence Day. This is a day of cookouts, fireworks, and time to get together with family and friends.