Independence Day began right after the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. The Memorial Day opened on Sunday (April 30) at 8 pm with a siren and continued with official and private memorial services across Israel.
The Memorial Day followed by Independence day is significant to Israelis as it marks the sacrifice of the fallen in order to achieve National Independence.
The Memorial Day officially ended at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem at 8 pm on Monday (May 1), when the ceremony of lighting of twelve torches began, marking the beginning of Israel’s 69th Independence day.
This year’s Independence day ceremony theme was liberation and unification of Jerusalem. Torches were lit by twelve people, who made a significant contribution to Israeli society. Each one of them told a story of Jerusalem from personal experience and perspective.
Celebrations continued on Tuesday morning (May 2) with the ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
It was followed by the awarding of 121 Medals of Excellence to soldiers and officers of the IDF. The Outstanding Soldier Award was also presented.
Israeli Air Force arranged an airshow over 40 towns and cities on May 2. A flyover of military airplanes and helicopters, including the first appearance of Israel’s F-35 stealth jets, marked the beginning of Tuesday celebration.
At the same time, naval parade was held at the Eilat naval base.
During the whole day on Tuesday (May 2) free of charge admittance to 69 heritage sites was announced, where special celebration events and family activities were held.
Happy Independence Day to all the people of Israel!
יום עצמאות שמח לכל עם ישראל!