'Flag for the Fallen' ceremony
'Flag for the Fallen' ceremonyIDF Spokesperson

Today, the "Flag for the Fallen" ceremony took place on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. As part of the ceremony, an Israeli flag was placed on the graves of those who fell while serving the State of Israel. The ceremony was held by the IDF and the Ministry of Defense, in conjunction with other Israeli security organizations.

The "Flag for the Fallen" project, which has taken place each year for over two decades, acknowledges and honors those who gave their lives while protecting Israeli civilians and the State of Israel.

Following the ceremony, the national flag, a remembrance flower and a memorial candle will be placed on each grave of the fallen before the beginning of “Yom HaZikaron” (Israel’s Memorial Day) on Tuesday evening.

מרגש: מצדיעים לנופלים ומניחים את דגל הלאום על הקבריםדובר צה"ל

Attending the ceremony were the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi, the Commissioner of the Israel Police, Inspector General Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai, the Director of the Mossad, Mr. David Barnea, the Director of the Israeli Security Agency, Mr. Ronen Bar, the Commissioner of the Israel Prison Service, Lieutenant General Katy Perry, the Head of the Manpower Directorate (J1), Major General Yaniv Asor, Head of the Ministry of Defense Department of Families, Commemoration and Heritage, Mr. Aryeh Mualem, Chairman of the “Yad Labanim” organization, Mr. Eli Ben-Shem and Chairwoman and representative of the IDF Widows & Orphans Organization, Mrs. Tami Shelach.

Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi said: “Over the past year, we have strengthened the ranks of soldiers in combat units, developed and enhanced weapons systems, increased the scope of operational intelligence and improved both the scope of munitions and methods of conducting strikes. As good as the methods and means are, the education of values, defensive action and contributing to the State of Israel remain the main factors which determine the strength of the IDF. This education is formed by our society and its leaders, by the education system, the IDF and above all, the home and the parents.”

“The fighting spirit and quality of the people have always been the IDF's main asset, and will remain the most influential element in the virtue and ability to fight. In line with values ​​and solidarity, we must care for those harmed and their unique needs, and return the captives and the missing home and to their families.”

“To you, the families, we remember. We remember the fallen on many occasions: When we return to carry out operational activities in the areas in which they fell, when we review combat analysis, in our professional learning sessions, when we enter the memorial rooms of each unit, and every year on the day in which our sons and daughters fell. However, this day calls on all of the people of Israel to unite in solidarity and in memory. This day slows the pace of the daily routine and makes time for all Israeli civilians to stop and think, to think of those who fell and about you [their families], to stop and partake in the constant pain you feel. This is an endless pain, a searing and burdensome pain which weighs on your happiness and clouds every moment of joy. The pain however, with all of its cruelty, is a sign of freedom and independence.”

“IDF soldiers and commanders, the contribution to the state should be a central part of the meaning of life of every civilian living in Israel. We are fortunate, wearing the uniform, that the privilege is ours. To you, dear families, together with the whole IDF, I send you my strength and embrace. May the memories of our children be a guiding compass for us all, a compass of values.”

Head of the Ministry of Defense Department of Families, Commemoration and Heritage, Mr. Aryeh Mualem, said: "The placing of the 24,068 flags on the gravestones of Israel’s fallen, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, is equal to placing a very important understanding into the hearts of the bereaved families.”

“Through this act, we extend a caring hand to join you in your personal and collective memorial journey, as we do every day throughout the year. During the laying of the flag the nation stands in silence next to each grave - whether a private, lieutenant colonel, brigadier general, superintendent or warden. Next to those who fell in service and those who fell in combat, because we do not forget them, and we will never forget them.”