On 5 Ilyar 5708 (May 14, 1948), Israel declared its independence. Since 1949, Yom haAtzmaut, Independence Day, has been celebrated on the 5th of Ilyar. Israel’s Independence Day, which this year began Wednesday evening, immediately follows Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel’s wars.
The celebrations traditionally start the night before with a central commemoration ceremony. Israelis like to mark the day with small private celebrations among family or acquaintances, or by attending one of the air force’s air shows. The International Youth Bible Quiz is also held in Jerusalem on this day. In many places, people end the festivities with fireworks.
Thanks to the speedy vaccination program against Covid-19, it is possible this year to celebrate the day in public again – with restrictions. On Sunday evening, Israel’s Declaration of Independence was read at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem as part of an event organized by several Jewish organizations. Due to coronavirus restrictions on the part of the government, only a small audience was allowed to participate on site. However, the event was broadcast simultaneously in several languages, including English, Spanish and French. Thus, thousands around the world were able to watch this ceremony online. The reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem – the spiritual, national and religious center of the Jewish people – aimed to emphasize the connection between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel.
In honor of Independence Day, Jerusalem lit up buildings Wednesday evening. Some of the main Jerusalem landmarks that were illuminated included the walls of the Old City and City Hall in Safra Square. On the occasion of Yom haZikaron, the term “Yiskor” has already been projected on buildings.