IDF soldiers in Operation Protective Edge
IDF soldiers in Operation Protective Edge Flash 90

The government on Monday held an official memorial service for the IDF soldiers killed during last year's Operation Protective Edge. Most of the 67 soldiers killed in the war are buried in a special section of the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, where the ceremony was held. Five civilians were also killed in the war.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Reuven Rivlin said that the war was “moral, justified, and the right thing to do for a country that wishes to protect its citizens. During the weeks leading up to the war, dozens of rockets fell daily on Israeli communities in the south. Children, women, old women and men were in shock every time they heard the 'death sound' of the whistle of rockets. They dug tunnels under nursery schools in a deliberate attempt to bring death and destruction to civilians.

A year ago, the war ended, but there are still those for whom the war has not ended,” Rivlin said, referring to the hundreds of soldiers and civilians injured in the war. “Some people are still in hospitals, fighting for their lives. Others are fighting the battle to recover and restore their lives, to learn again how to walk, how to speak, read, right, and sleep peacefully at night.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “Hamas was badly hurt during the war, much worse than ever before. We are constantly watching what is going on in the south. I tell all the enemies of Israel – Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and ISIS, that anyone that tries to harm Israel will pay.”

Operation Protective Edge lasted 50 days, making it the second longest war in Israel's history. During the war, 4,564 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel. About 3,600 exploded in open areas, while Iron Dome units protected Israeli cities from 735 rockets.