Israel observes national day of mourning, one month after October 7 massacre

A minute of silence is held and flags are lowered to half staff as memorial ceremonies get underway across country to remember 1,400 dead, advocate for 242 hostages

Israelis stand for a minute of silence in Tel Aviv on November 7, 2023, to remember the victims of the October 7 Hamas massacre last month. (Photo by Albert Bannon, made available by the Brothers and Sisters in Arms protest group)
Israelis stand for a minute of silence in Tel Aviv on November 7, 2023, to remember the victims of the October 7 Hamas massacre last month. (Photo by Albert Bannon, made available by the Brothers and Sisters in Arms protest group)

Israelis across the country observed a minute of silence at 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning to commemorate the victims of Hamas’s October 7 massacre, one month after the deadly onslaught.

The minute of silence marked the start of memorial ceremonies across the country, but unlike Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day, it was not accompanied by a siren.

Following the silence, flags across Israel were lowered to half-staff and mourners sang the national anthem, Hatikvah.

On October 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists burst into southern Israel, slaughtering some 1,400 people in their homes, on the street and at an outdoor music festival in the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history. Among the dead were also hundreds of soldiers and police, some killed defending communities and some in military bases that were overrun. At least 247 people, mostly civilians, were taken hostage, including young children and the infirm; four were released and one was rescued.

Prior to Tuesday’s memorial events, a Defense Ministry ceremony was held on Monday night in the State Hall of Remembrance at Mount Herzl, Israel’s largest military cemetery, where the newly engraved names of 349 people killed on October 7 were unveiled on the walls of the commemorative building.

The names included those of soldiers, police officers, Shin Bet operatives and civilian security team members who died defending communities on October 7.

At the same time, the faces of the hostages held in Gaza were projected across the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Pictures of Israelis abducted by Hamas terrorists in Gaza are screened on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, on November 6, 2023. 9(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In Ra’anana, a memorial ceremony organized by Yad Lebanim, an organization dedicated to commemorating Israel’s fallen soldiers, began with the Yizkor memorial prayer on Tuesday morning, after which memorial candles were lit and participants were invited to sing Hatikvah.

An additional Yad Lebanim ceremony was scheduled to be held on Tuesday evening in Petah Tikvah, at Yad Lebanim Square. The organization has said that it will distribute yellow ribbons to attendees as a sign of solidarity with the hostages.

The use of the yellow ribbon to show solidarity with captives held by terror groups in Gaza since October 7 recalls a 2008 campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier who was held in Gaza in 2006-2011.

In keeping with the symbolism, a Bar Ilan University memorial ceremony released 242 yellow balloons, one for each known hostage still held by Hamas.

Israelis release balloons at Bar Ilan University to remember the 240 hostages taken by terror group Hamas during its October 7, 2023 assault, on November 7, 2023. (Courtesy Alon Korngreen)

Elsewhere in the country, youth movements were marking the day with related lesson plans and activities, and schools and universities will be conducting their own ceremonies.

At 6 p.m., groups were to gather in central squares in each major city in order to light candles in memory of those killed, and then at 6:30 p.m., a memorial service was to be held at the Tel Aviv Cultural Center, accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on social media and on screens set up at the candlelight vigils.

Following the ceremony in Tel Aviv, a memorial rally and protest is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem at 7:30 p.m., led by bereaved families. The group plans to establish a permanent camp outside of the Knesset, where participants will demand the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the dissolution of the government.

Inside the Knesset on Tuesday morning, committee sessions were paused at 11 a.m. in order to observe the moment of silence, and several ministries held their own memorial services.

Most Popular
read more: