Israel’s Independence Day (Hebrew. יום העצמאות, Yom Haatzmaut) is the main state holiday of the country. It is celebrated every year on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday nearest to 5 Iyar, in the memory of the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 (5th of Iyar 5708 in the Hebrew calendar). On the November 29th in 1947, the UN General Assembly by a majority vote – 33 to 13 had adopted a resolution on the partition of Palestine into two separate states. The Jews were jubilant, but Arabs protested this decision and began fighting.
So, even before the Jewish State was established, it had to defend itself.
On May 14, 1948, the day when the British Mandate has expired, David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv Museum read the Declaration of Independence of the new State. Now it was officially named – Medinat Israel (State of Israel). A few hours after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded the young State, and the Jews stood up for defending their independence, finally-found in the land of their ancestors. This war had lasted fifteen months and killed more than 6,000 people. They gave their lives for the existence of the State of Israel to become a reality.
The following year, in the Knesset had passed the law to celebrate the national holiday on the 5th day of the month of Iyar. This day is called “Yom Haatzmaut” – The Independence Day.
In Israel, Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated with a solemn reception, sometimes with military parades. Military bases are open for visitors; air parades are arranged. Today, Israel can be proud of the technical equipment of its army. Everywhere across the country – on buildings, cars, on the streets, you will see proudly flattering flags of Israel. The flag depicts a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes which remind us the colors of the traditional Tallith.
In all the cities of Israel this day is widely and joyfully celebrated. During the day most people prefer to go out of the cities to the picnics, then, at night, they go to watch fireworks and festive shows and concerts.