JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli leaders and Holocaust survivors are gathering in Jerusalem to mark the country's annual Holocaust Memorial Day.
Wednesday night's ceremony at Yad Vashem begins the 24-hour commemoration for the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust of World War II.
The Nazis and their collaborators wiped out a third of world Jewry.
The Holocaust is considered a central event in modern Jewish history and key to Israel's society.
Fewer than 200,000 elderly survivors remain in Israel.
Six survivors were lighting symbolic torches at the ceremony. The Israeli flag flies at half staff, poems are read and the Jewish prayer for the dead is recited.
On Thursday morning, Israel comes to a standstill in a memorial gesture as air raid sirens wail for two minutes.