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Yom Haatzmaut: Appreciating the Freedoms and Independence We Have

04-13-2013 / By: Easy Life

Cities across Israel are being decorated in white and blue and Israeli flags are being hung everywhere to prepare for the upcoming monumental day of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Yom Ha’atzmaut inevitably follows after Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day in which memorial services are held for fallen soldiers and victims of terror throughout Israel.

Israel Independence Day falls out on Monday evening, in correspondence to the original dates, May 14, 1948, the date when Israel won its independence from British imperialism. This year, Israelis will be celebrating the 65th birthday of the State of Israel with music, festivals, parties, activities, barbeques, and so much more. Most Israeli schools are closed for this national holiday and families like to utilize that day for spending time together. While Israel is a sovereign country recognized by most of the world, we sometimes lose sight as to what it’s like to appreciate the freedoms and right we have as a nation.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Iyar, which is the Hebrew date of the formal establishment of the State of Israel. That is when members of the "provisional government" read and signed a Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. The next day, surrounding Arab countries seized the opportunity to attack Israel in all fronts.

Israel’s war of Independence was the first war that was fought between the State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries.  The war broke out during the eve of the establishment of Israel and continued until January 1949. The war instigated by the Arabs was in response to their rejection of the United Nation's Partition Plan, Resolution 181 of the General Assembly that took place on November 29, 1947. Israel has declared victory on January 1949 despite the heavy casualties it amassed on their side.

Aside for official ceremonies, Israelis tend to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in many different ways. In most big cities, nighttime festivities can be found everywhere. People will crowd around to watch public shows offered for free by the municipalities and the government. Fireworks are displayed everywhere. Many spend the night dancing Israeli folk dances or singing Israeli songs. Thousands of Israeli families go out on hikes and picnics on the following day. Army camps are usually open for civilians to visit and to display the recent technological achievements of the Israeli Defense Forces. Yom Ha'atzmaut is concluded with the ceremony of granting the "Israel Prize" that recognizes individual Israelis for their unique contribution to the country's culture, science, arts, and the humanities.

While Yom Hazikaron is supposed to remind us of those who risked their lives to establish and maintain Israel as being an independent state, Yom Ha’atzmaut is suppose help us appreciate the freedoms we have living in the most democratic country in the Middle East through a national celebration.

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