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.
Originally Published on 4/10/2010