On Tuesday evening at sundown sorrow transitioned to rejoicing as Israelis began to celebrate the country’s 75th Independence Day, beginning with the annual Torch-Lighting Ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl center and military cemetery.
The state ceremony that brings in Yom Ha’Atzma’ut takes place each year at a site close to Theodor Herzl’s grave.
The ceremony included performances, speeches, and a ceremonial lighting of twelve torches symbolizing the Twelve Tribes of Israel by twelve citizens who have made a great impact on the country. At the same time, towns and cities across the country held parties and firework displays.
Following the ceremony, Jerusalem was swamped with events, parties, outdoor get-togethers, and concerts. Many of the city’s leisure sites offered various festivities for a symbolic fee, or free of charge completely.
Festive prayers were held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem at 6:45 pm, prior to the ceremony at Mount Herzl.
Across Israel, events and celebrations are continuing to mark Independence – both on a national scale and on a more local scale, with almost every city, town, and village, having some sort of celebration.
On Wednesday, parades and events are also set to take place across Israel, including the annual spectacular military plane fly-by spanning the country from north to south and east to west, as well as parades, the world-famous International Bible Competition, and the ceremony for the Israel Prize which is Israel’s highest award and honor.
The Israel Prize is given each year to about 10-15 people in the presence of the presence of the President, Prime Minister, Knesset chairperson, and the Supreme Court president.
Yom Ha’Atzma’ut is a also a major family day, and Israelis are certain to be flocking to Israel’s National Parks, hiking trails, and beauty spots, for barbecues (“mangal” in local parlance) and picnics as well..