Like many countries, Israel has an Independence Day. This is a day when the first government of Israel signed a declaration of independence in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. This originally happened on May 14, 1948. This day is commemorated as Yom Ha’atzmaut, which is a day of celebration with many parades and festivities and even awards. In this article, you will learn about how Yom Ha’atzmaut is celebrated in Israel and what its significance is for the whole Jewish community.
The day before Independence Day in Israel is Yom Hazikaron, which is a solemn day to memorialize those soldiers who lost their lives for the state and people of Israel. Yom Ha’atzmaut, however, the day of independence, has quite a different feel to it. While the Memorial Day is quiet with many moments of introspection and remembrance, this Independence Day is full of parades and celebrations. Members of the army, navy, and air force will march in the parades. The president of Israel also delivers a speech on this day. The speech is a congratulations and thank you to the military of Israel for their hard work and sacrifices.
There are also many festivities at night on Yom Ha’atzmaut. There are more parades and often there are many shows on the main streets. Citizens of Israel join together to watch Israeli folk dancing and to listen to Israeli folk songs. Much of this entertainment is either paid for and provided by the government or by local organizations. During the day, families will spend time together going for hikes or walks or having picnics. Army camps are open so that civilians and can visit and get a better understanding of how the military operates. Unlike the Memorial Day that precedes this day, which is used to mourn and remember, Independence Day in Israel is a time to celebrate the state.
Yom Ha’atzmaut is still a relatively new holiday, and there is much debate among religious leaders in Israel as to how it should be commemorated. There is much discussion as to which prayers should be said. Some rabbis believe that it should be celebrated like a religious holiday, such as Passover. Others believe that there should only be blessings. Most Israeli citizens do not consider this holiday to be religious and use it show pride in their country. American Jews celebrate this holiday to show their allegiance to the state of Israel and to show pride in their Jewish culture.
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