What Makes Yom HaAtzmaut Different?

Join in Israel’s 71 year old traditions this Israel Independence Day and learn what makes them so unique.

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Independence Hall
Independence Hall
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Israel Independence Day, or in Hebrew, Yom HaAtzmaut, will be celebrated from the evening of May 8 to the evening of May 9, which happens to be the 5th of Iyar according to the Hebrew calendar. This year, Israel will be celebrating 71 years of statehood, and everyone is already excited. Every year, Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations are massive but Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations in Israel are not like any ordinary independence day. Even though there are tons of fireworks and most of the country is barbecuing like it's the 4th of July, there is so much more meaning behind this important day that deserves to be noted.

In the weeks leading up to Yom HaAtzmaut, everyone in Israel can be seen decorating their homes and cars with Israeli flags and putting them everywhere they can. One can feel excitement in the air as blue and white take over the cities; however, the day before the celebrations, is Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron, where the entire country mourns fallen soldiers of war and victims of terror. Television and radio keep to a somber mood, and people generally visit the graves of loved ones or those who inspired them. The reason why these two days come one after another is to tell a story, to show people that although there is great reason for celebration, we must always remember those who made Israel’s independence a reality.

Israel 71 Years T-Shirt (Choice of Color) Jws

Yom HaAtzmaut starts off keeping the IDF in mind as the Israeli Air Force puts on a show by flying planes across the country and everyone runs outside to catch a glimpse of these F-35s. The IDF has fought in multiple wars and battles to keep Israel safe on every single one of its borders and within. On Yom HaAtzmaut, we thank IDF soldiers for all their hard work and many choose to wear army t-shirts, especially outside of Israel to show their pride in this special army. The IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world, and Jewish people everywhere have reason to be proud of their accomplishments.

IDF T-shirt. Olive Green Jws

Of course, Yom HaAtzmaut is spent barbequing with family and friends out in one of Israel’s national parks, because the day is also spent appreciating all we have, which includes taking in nature and Israeli history. One of the most beautiful experiences in Israel is seeing the sea of people celebrating in the streets as far as the eye can see wearing Israel’s colors. Everyone so unified on this day, no matter their background, everyone is proud to be able to live in this Jewish state and to have Israel for the past 71 years.

Israel Flag Cap. Color: Navy Blue Jws

Yom Haatzmaut is no ordinary Independence Day, as it is a day of freedom, victory, and a day to appreciate the Jewish land, history, and culture. Israel is a place that welcomes Jews of all kinds, from all different backgrounds and allows them to call it their home. Yom Haatzmaut is also a day of spirituality, as many include the prayer of Hallel, a prayer of praise and thanks, into their morning prayers on Yom HaAtzmaut. So, no matter your background, from ultra-orthodox to secular, as long as you are a Jew, you have the same reason to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s and the Jewish peoples’ national independence.