Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday recorded a special greeting for Yom Hazikaron [Memorial Day] and Yom Haatzmaut [Independence Day].

"Still again, we are facing the same dilemma," Edelstein said on the eve of Israel's 64th birthday. "The possible switch of the grief of the day of the fallen soldiers on the day of rememberance, to the wonderful simcha, [the] wonderful joy, of the day of Israel's independence."

"But, I think that we shouldn't change anything about it. This is exactly the story of the Jewish people, and the story of Israel: grief and sorrow, closely followed [by] our joy, our pride, and the achievements that we all have.

"And I think that it's fair to say, that we should remember [on] this wonderful Independence Day, that the price was high, that nearly twenty-three thousand Israelis, Israeli soldiers, gave their lives in order for us to be able to celebrate as a free country, as a free people.

"Let us all have a wonderful Independence Day. Let us all continue growing. Let's bring more achievements, more joy, to this wonderful country, the Jewish state.

"Yom Haatzmaut Sameach," he concluded.

The number who have fallen in IDF service and in terror attacks in Israel since the First Aliya in 1860 presently stands at 22,993.

According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics the population of Israel numbers 7,881,000 people on the eve of its 64th anniversary - and almost tenfold increase since the declaration of the Jewish state.

At the time of its declaration on 14 May 1948 (5 Iyar 5708), the day before the British Mandate was due to expire, Israel consisted of only 806,000 residents.

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