Yom Ha'Atzma'ut -Israel's Independence Day
The modern state of Israel dates back to the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947. The UN General Assembly divided the British mandate of Palestine into two homelands - one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians. Israel's independence was declared on the 5th of Iyar, 5708, (of the Jewish calendar) which fell out on May 14th, 1948. Five neighboring Arab states attacked the fledgling state that very night. Miraculously, the newly formed Israel Defense Force (IDF) managed to push them back and gain territory. This was known as the War of Independence, and Israel paid a high price in terms of soldier and civilian casualties, and in financial terms.
Yom Ha'Atzma'ut falls on the 5th of the Jewish calendar month of Iyar.
Yom Ha'Atzma'ut begins the moment that Yom HaZikaron ends, and in Israel, there is a drastic change in mood as people go from mourning for those fallen for the state to rejoicing and celebrating Israel's statehood. On Independence Eve, towns all over Israel teem with revelers, partying, dancing, spraying cream and streamers, bopping passers-by with toy hammers and enjoying live concerts in the town squares and parks. The entire country is decked out in blue and white, and Israeli flags fly from every car. Yom Ha'Atzma'ut is a public holiday in Israel, and the parks and beaches (and even the nature strips along the highways) overflow with families and groups of friends, relaxing, rejoicing and enjoying their barbecue picnics. Often the Israeli navy and airforce put on special shows for the public.In the Diaspora, Yom Ha'Atzma'ut is often marked by parties, special programs and Israeli dancing at the local synagogues and community centers, and by a large concert for the Jewish community. Many wear blue and white (the colors of the Israeli flag).
Also on the WUJS site:
Yom Ha'Atzmaut Activities.
Yom Ha'Atzmaut sources: Historical, traditional, and contemporary.
This year's dates for Yom Ha'Atzmaut can be found in our WUJS Year Mapper.