JERUSALEM — Israel marked its Memorial Day for fallen troopers and victims of militant assaults on Tuesday in opposition to the backdrop of a number of the deepest political divisions in its historical past and hovering tensions with Palestinians.

Memorial Day is without doubt one of the most solemn moments on Israel’s nationwide calendar, in honor of its 24,213 conflict lifeless and 4,255 assault victims. Folks got here to a standstill when a two-minute siren sounded late within the morning. Motorists and pedestrians halted on the street, stopped their automobiles and stood with heads bowed.

Bereaved households visited cemeteries and attended ceremonies whereas tv and radio programming shifted to somber music and documentaries about slain troopers.

This yr, Memorial Day is tainted by deep divisions roiling the nation over a contentious plan by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities to overtake the judiciary. “Residents of Israel, the siren this yr, the intensely Israeli signature name, is a wake-up name for all of us. The price of inner strife is heavy,” Israel’s figurehead President Isaac Herzog mentioned late Monday on the official ceremony marking the beginning of the day of remembrance.

Herzog, who’s mediating talks between the federal government and the opposition to attempt to discover a compromise on the authorized adjustments, mentioned he was working to protect Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The solemnity of the event is usually a second of nationwide unity. At sundown, the mourning turns to exuberance for Independence Day. This yr, as Israel turns 75 years outdated, it has a lot to have a good time.

However all of it’s shadowed by a bitter cut up over the authorized overhaul plan. Fighter pilots have threatened to cease reporting for obligation. The nation’s leaders have brazenly warned of civil conflict, and households of fallen troopers have referred to as on politicians to keep away from the ceremonies. Many Israelis marvel if the deep cut up can ever heal.

Netanyahu has paused the overhaul push after weeks of large protests that shut down highways, sparked a brief normal strike and spooked traders. The plan would give Netanyahu’s authorities, probably the most right-wing in Israeli historical past, energy to overturn courtroom selections and appoint judges.

Memorial Day this yr additionally comes as Israel and the Palestinians within the West Financial institution are embroiled in a number of the deadliest violence in that space in years.

Simply earlier than the sirens wailed, the Israeli army mentioned a taking pictures assault Tuesday within the West Financial institution wounded one Israeli.

Only a day earlier, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man in a West Financial institution raid and a number of other individuals have been wounded when a Palestinian rammed his automobile into pedestrians close to a busy Jerusalem market.

Israel has fought half a dozen wars with neighboring Arab nations, battled two Palestinian uprisings and endured scores of lethal militant assaults since its institution in 1948.

At sunset on Tuesday, the nation will shift from remembrance to celebration, kicking off its seventy fifth Independence Day.

Related Press author Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel, contributed to this story.


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