Watch: Israel celebrates 68 years

Opening ceremonies for Israel's 68th Independence Day begin at Har Herzl in Jerusalem.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Independence Day 2016
Independence Day 2016
Arutz Sheva

The state ceremony celebrating 68 years since the founding of Israel began on Wednesday evening at Har Herzl in Jerusalem, leading up to the traditional Independence Day torch lighting.

The 14 individuals selected to light this year’s torches are:

Herzl Biton, the 57-year old bus driver who saved dozens of passengers in 2015 when he confronted a knife-wielding terrorist. Biton was seriously wounded in the attack.

Gabi Barsheshet, Deputy Director of the Megilot rescue team.

Sgt. Farah Usa Roberto, a 21-year old immigrant soldier who fended off an Arab terrorist in Gush Etzion, foiling the terror attack.

Staff Sgt. Alison Berson, the Border Police officer who shot and neutralized two terrorists during a stabbing attack at the Tapuah Junction in 2015.

Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon – who was killed in the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster, and mother of Asaf Ramon, who perished during a training accident in the Israeli Air Force.

Father Gabriel Naddaf, an Eastern Orthodox priest who has spearheaded the integration of Christian Arabs into the Israeli army.

Avi Toibin, who saved champion rower Yasmin Feingold when her boat overturned in the Yarkon River.

Nili and Moish Levi of Modi’in, who both donated kidneys to save the lives of people they have never met.

Dr. Anan Falah, a dentist who has campaigned for the empowerment of Druze women.

Rotem Elisha, an 18-year old survivor of rape who now works as an activist against sexual violence.

Fainy Sukenik, the founder of an organization which assists haredi women struggling through difficult divorces.

Yaakov Ehrenfeld, an 83-year old Holocaust survivor who is unable to see or speak and has spent years working at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum to help deaf and mute visitors at the memorial.

Hallel Bareli, a 17-year old youth counselor who has helped residents living near the Gaza Strip respond to emergency situations.