is Israel's Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers. Although
Memorial Day in some countries-the United States, for example-is
marked by ballgames and barbeques, YOM HAZIKARON is
a somber day throughout Israel. Israelis don't listen to music,
and many attend memorial ceremonies for relatives and friends
who died in combat.
Air raid sirens
are played throughout the country in the evening and again
in the morning (days in the Jewish calendar begin in the evening).
Upon hearing the sirens, Israelis stand in silence. Drivers
stop their cars and stand as well.
The date chosen
for YOM HAZIKARON was 4 Iyar, the day before Israel's
national independence day. Some Israelis found it awkward
to put a sad day next to a celebratory holiday, but by doing
so the government made it clear: without the soldiers who
gave their lives, there would be no Israeli independence to