Sirens have wailed across Israel bringing the country to a standstill on its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Nationwide, Israelis stopped what they were doing at 11.00 a.m. on Monday and stood silently for two minutes to honour and remember the dead. Israel says 23,169 have been killed since 1860, when Jews began moving back to the area.

It is one of the most sombre dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down while radio and TV air documentaries about wars and soldiers killed.

The sad atmosphere ends sharply at sundown when, in jarring contrast, Israelis joyfully take to the streets for Independence Day celebrations.

Sirens also brought the country to a halt last week for Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

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