Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath during a ceremony on Memorial Day, when Israel commemorates its fallen soldiers, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, May 8, 2019.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath during a ceremony on Memorial Day, when Israel commemorates its fallen soldiers, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, May 8, 2019.

As a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza holds, Israel marks its Memorial Day and Independence Day this week. The population has just topped nine million and Israelis say they've never had a better friend than President Donald Trump in the White House.

Israelis stood still Tuesday for a two-minute siren commemorating the more than 23,700 Israeli soldiers killed as well as more than 3,000 victims of terror attacks. All places of entertainment are closed, and flags fly at half-staff.

At the Western Wall, bereaved families participated in a memorial ceremony.

As night falls on Wednesday, the mood shifts dramatically, and Israelis will celebrate their 71st Independence Day.

For Palestinians, it marks the Nakba, or Catastrophe, the day they lost a large part of a projected Palestinian state.

Earlier this week, there were heavy clashes between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that left four Israelis and 23 Palestinian dead. A cease-fire that went into effect Monday seems to be holding.

Israelis say they have never had a better friend in the White House than Donald Trump, who last year recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there.

FILE - After signing, U.S. President Donald Trump
FILE - After signing, U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the proclamation that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washington, U.S., Dec. 6, 2017.

This year he recognized the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied from Syria in 1967, as part of Israel.

Trump: US Recognizes Israeli Golan Heights Sovereignty

President Trump compared the two moves recently.
 
"I was inundated with calls from all over the world, from mostly the leaders, saying please don't do it, don't do it. I did it, it's done and it's been fine. Golan Heights is the same thing," he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to bring home the remains of two Israeli soldiers Hamas is holding in Gaza, as well as two Israeli civilians being held there.