On the eve of Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of the Wars of Israel and Victims of Actions of Terrorism, the National Insurance Institute (NII) announced that a total of 3,158 civilians were killed in hostilities from the founding of the State of Israel and 4,176 since the beginning of Zionism in 1860.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly brought down the number of terror attacks in the past year, but the toll of victims nevertheless grew by two – Esther Horgan, a 52-year-old married mother of six of the Tal Menashe settlement in Samaria who was brutally attacked and murdered while jogging on December 20, 2020) in a forest near her home, and Rabbi Shai Ohayon, a 39-year-old married father of four and a full-time student at a yeshiva in the nearby town of Kfar Saba and Torah who was fatally stabbed by terrorists when getting of a bus near his home
The NII said the total number of victims included 120 foreign nationals murdered in terrorist attacks in Israel and 100 Israelis murdered by terrorists abroad. All the hostilities left 3,262 orphans, including 121 who lost both parents, 800 widows and widowers and 975 bereaved parents who are alive today.
NII director-general Meir Spiegler commented: “In the Israeli reality, the families of the victims and the victims of the hostilities have become part of the National Insurance Institute family. The Victims of Hostilities and Rehabilitation Branches of the institute regard it as a moral and national task to support, assist and alleviate – even if only slightly –
The families who are left behind and need to cope with the disaster that befell them whose scars will never heal.”
“As part of our public commitment, we intend to promote this year the laying of the cornerstone for the construction of a memorial hall for terror victims on Mount Herzl,” near the monument for Israeli fallen soldiers nearby, he said
Spiegler said that in 2020, the NII’s Division of Victims of Hostilities paid about NIS 590 million in benefits to thousands of terror victims and their families, in addition to its major activities in the field of rehabilitation.
A special Internet site called La’ad (Forever) remembers the 4,176 martyrs who perished in hostilities from the early days of Zionism to the present day. Visitors to the site can “light” a remembrance candle, write a personal message and share the information on the social networks.
This year, the NII continued the process of locating and documenting the burial place of terror and hostility victims in the cemeteries (block and plot numbers), and to date, 3,440 graves have been located and documented
In cooperation with Israeli youth movements, the NII is organizing a special operation in which coordinators and members are visiting cemeteries around the country, placing a flag and lighting a memorial candle on the graves of the victims.
The names of the victims of the hostilities will be broadcast on TV on the eve of Remembrance Day.
The state memorial service in memory of the victims of the hostilities will be held on Wednesday, Remembrance Day on Mount Herzl at the official Monument to the Victims of Hostilities. The ceremony will be attended by the president, the prime minister, the speaker of the Knesset and the president of the Supreme Court.