Shalom and Welcome to this week’s In Israel Blog – Yom Haatzmaut Special
Israel at 64!
Israel turns 64 this week with Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day) falling this Thursday. Many buildings and cars are already decked out in flags in honour of the occasion. On Yom Haatzmaut itself almost the entire population will take to public parks, private gardens and even the grass reservation on some public roads in order to hang out with family, friends and to mangal (Bar-b-q). It is quite a sight!
The evening before will be marked with fireworks and street parties in almost every village, town and city. The highlight will be the state ceremony held on Mt Herzl in Jerusalem. (This year the scene of an unfortunate tragedy during the rehearsals for the ceremony.)
It is impossible to celebrate independence without reflecting on those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and self determination – 22993 who gave of themselves so that Israel is Israel today. Yom HaZikharon (Israel Memorial Day) always falls the day before Yom Haaztmaut as sacrifice and freedom are the two sides of the same coin. On Yom HaZikaron there are two minutes of silence (both in the evening and morning) marked by the sounding of air raid sirens and everybody and every vehicle stopping, and ceremonies at all the military cemeteries.
We honor their sacrifice and their memory and pray that the number of the fallen never increases.
Last week we marked Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) paying respect to the victims of the Holocaust. The message is that Israel is responsible to ensure that it never happens again.
This week’s recommendation is to enjoy Yom Haatzmaut – take part in the steet parties in the evening, see something of Israel (a view, a hike or a museum in the morning and mangal (Bar-b-q) in the afternoon. For a list of 64 museums and sites that are open on Yom Haatzmaut – see Ministry of Culture – 64 Sites (Hebrew only) and reflect on the wonders of Israel.
Chag Haatmaut Sameach – Happy Israel Independence Day!
Le’Hitraot from Jerusalem