Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut

Yom Ha’atzmaut (Hebrew: יום העצמאות‎ yōm hā-‘aṣmā’ūṯ) is the national independence day of Israel, commemorating its declaration of independence in 1948.

Celebrated annually on or around the 5th of the Jewish month of Iyar, it centers around the declaration of the state of Israel by David Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar, 5708), and the end of the British Mandate of Palestine.

It is always preceded by Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day on the 4th of Iyar.

An official ceremony is held every year on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem on the evening of Yom Ha’atzmaut. The ceremony includes a speech by the speaker of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), a dramatic presentation, a ritual march of soldiers carrying the Flag of Israel, forming elaborate structures (such as a Menorah, Magen David and a number which represents the age of Israel) and the lighting of twelve torches (one for each of the Tribes of Israel). Every year a dozen Israeli citizens, who made a significant social contribution in a selected area, are invited to light the torches.

From Wikipedia

Aish has a special section devoted to Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Originally Published on 4/10/2010

10 comments on “Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut

  1. given that this is a haredi site, and all baalei tshuva are brought to tora by either anti- or just non-zionist agencies, this is brave–to even acknowledge its existence….

  2. Naftali, I respect bitter sentiments; even though I don’t share them. But halacha is defined according to halachic criteria, not sentiment nor even a seperate logic.

    So I respect your feelings; but they have no bearing on the question.

    The idea of sovereignty in halacha is apparently more malleable than one might think. Rambam calls the rule of the Hashmonaim a ‘restoration of sovereignty for over 200 years.’ This, despite their being bound by conditions imposed by Syria. This, despite their becoming murderous heretics. Look at the history of the period and people some time.

    Rav Herschel Schachter points to the g’mara in Rosh Hashanah calling Artachshasta a Jewish king. This, despite the fact that he was completely assimilated into Persian life. He was the king of Persia! Yet, as long as he somehow identified with Jewish return to Israel and facilitated/supported it, he was a ‘Jewish king’. Go figure.

    The point being that the return to Israel and reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty isn’t to be looked at with the same perspective that one looks historically at 4 July 1776.

    If it will make you feel any better, Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook was mightily confused when the UN partition plan was announced. People danced in the streets over this chance to move toward statehood. He mourned the rending apart of the Land of Israel. Only after Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop came to console and comfort him, did he gain perspective as to what a blessing this would be. Nu, I guess you’re in good company. In my time, there was no greater Zionist than he.

    Happy Isru Yom Ha-Atzmaut! ;-D

  3. Every birthday is a celebration of being alive. How much more so for Medinat Yisrael, still around 62 years later, despite the concerted efforts of some of the richest and most powerful nations in the world to destroy us. The Nazis yemach shemom tried to exterminate the entire Jewish people and did not succeed. This should be a day of overwhelming gratitude to G-d for our continued survival, both the Jewish people and the Jewish state. “Not by horses, not by mortal strength, but by the Divine Will, says HaShem.”

  4. Naftali,

    As long as Israel has any leeway in its domestic and foreign policies, as you should admit it does, its independence is not the total fiction you depict. Likewise, the Orthodox Jews there enjoy a large measure of freedom to live their lives per halacha, despite opposition.

    As long as we remain in exile, outside or inside Israel, our independence will be limited. In the 1930’s and early 1940’s it was far more limited!

  5. Considering the fact that Israel is the only country in the world that the USA still dictates policy to, in what way is Israel and independent nation? Since Israel is not really independent, then how can we celebrate Israel Independence Day?

    Considering that Orthodox Jews are the most hated people in Israel, how can Orthodox Jews celebrate any Israeli holiday?

    Don’t me started about the fact that the entire world is united against Israel, even though they can’t agree on anything else. Even countries that were friendly to Israel ten years ago like the USA, Ireland and Turkey, now have joined the anti-Israel club.

    I am sorry, but I do not believe that there is anything worth celebrating here.

  6. חג העצמאות שמח – Happy 62nd Israel!

    Fireworks in Beit Shemesh (Video):

    From Rafi G.’s blog “Life in Israel”:

    “…the students of the GR”a, 200 years ago, said over in the name of the GR”A that in the future process of the ultimate redemption, the process of the Geula, there will be two dates that will be very significant. Those two dates, said in the name of the GRA, are: 5 Iyar and 27 Iyar.”

    It says 5 Iyar is the 20th day of the Omer and 27 Iyar is the 42nd day of the Omer, and these two days are special days that the “klipa” – some sort of negative influence – has no control over these days. When the students of the GRA began establishing the resettlement of Eretz Yisrael, and laid the foundation for the shul in Jerusalem, they some some connection by ruach hakodesh to the zchus avos that had been severed at the time of the destruction of the mikdash. The students repeatedly used these two days as the days they would do their most important work in laying foundations for their various holy works in Jerusalem.

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