People across Israel united for a day to remember the nation’s fallen soldiers, officers and agents on Remembrance Day.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett used the special day to call the nation together as it remembered those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
“I cannot speak on behalf of the fallen, but I believe if they could, they would have told us: keep living together,” Bennett said in a statement. “Do not let disagreements tear you apart from within. If we allow anger and hatred to grip us, then our enemies will take advantage of it to harm us.”
The nation’s 74th Remembrance Day honored more than 24,000 soldiers, Mossad agents, police officers and prison wardens who have been killed defending Israel since 1860. The number includes 56 Israeli Defense Forces personnel who have died in the past year.
President Isaac Herzog also offered words of unity on Tuesday from the Western Wall.
“The siren that sliced through our lives a few minutes ago is the purest moment in the Israeli calendar,” Herzog said. “A moment that plucks the cords of our souls. A moment of mighty, bitter grief. A moment that speaks to the essence of this week, the essence of the State of Israel itself: from the deepest grief to the miracle of independence and rebirth.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also shared his reflections regarding the lives lost in service to Israel.
“Every year during the siren, I try to remember them all. Try and fail. As the years went on, the list got longer, but the duration of the siren remained as it was,” he wrote on Twitter. “This day is very difficult for me. On a personal level. Before being the defense minister and chief of staff, I am human. The thoughts of all the people I have known over the years and who have fallen do not give me rest.”