Israel Pays Tribute to its Fallen Soldiers

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- On Sunday, Israel marked its Memorial Day and honored the dead who fell during their wars. But for Israel, the specter of more war still looms on the horizon.

Israeli leaders stood in silence, listened to the wail of a nationwide siren and remembered their fallen soldiers.

During the national ceremony, Israeli President Shimon Peres lit a memorial flame in front of Jerusalem's Western Wall. He also warned there are still those - like Iran's regime - who want to annihilate Israel.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel wants peace with its neighbors but must be prepared to defend itself.

Israel Accuses Syria of Arming Hezbollah

These ceremonies followed recent news that could make another war likely. Last week, Israel said Syria has supplied the Iranian backed Hezbollah in Lebanon with scud missiles, weapons capable of hitting anywhere in Israel. Some experts say scud missiles in the hands of Hezbollah would shift the military balance on Israel's northern border .

Concering Iran, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said a memo he wrote in January saying the U.S. lacked a long term plan for dealing with Tehran's nuclear program was not a criticism of American foreign policy, but "intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision making process" on Iran.

And American Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said a U.S. military strike against the Iran would go a long way towards delaying the Islamic nation's nuclear program, adding such a move would be a "last option," and that it would the president's decision.

Regardless of how the U.S. responds, Israeli officials say Iran's nuclear program threatens the survival of the Jewish state.

Israel's Memorial Day is followed immediately by its Independence Day. Although the modern nation of Israel was founded in 1948, many Israelis feel 62 years later they are still fighting their war of independence.


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