Israel Independence Day is celebrated on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar — which usually falls between late April and early May — and this year it will be held from May 13 to 14. Also known as ‘Yom Ha’atzma’ut,’ this holiday memorializes Israeli independence, declared eight hours before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. The day’s celebrations are however always preceded by ‘Yom Hazikaron,’ which is the day the Israelis remember the soldiers who fought for their nation’s independence. The holiday is observed with extravagant festivities that include family gatherings, fireworks, concerts, barbecues as well as picnics.
History of Israel Independence Day
Israel’s independence was declared on May 14, 1948 — the day when David ben Gurion officially read the Proclamation of the Establishment of the State of Israel. The formation of Israel also meant that the British rule in the country had ended and the citizens were now free. With this, Independence Day was declared a ‘state holiday’ and is celebrated on the 5th of Iyar.
The holiday is celebrated with fireworks and military parades, and the President of Israel usually hosts a reception for outstanding soldiers. A major State Ceremony also takes place on the eve of Independence Day. The ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, includes performances, speeches, and the ceremonial lighting of twelve torches. The torches serve a historic purpose and symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel.
This day is observed with a bang every year because the people of Israel suffered tremendously before they settled back into a land of their own. They were exiled from their homeland for 2,000 years and faced numerous religious persecutions, including the holocaust in Germany, which killed nearly a third of the world’s Jews, hence Isreal’s Chief Rabbinate’s recommendation, in 1950, that the occasion is given the status of an official Jewish holiday. He also insisted that Hallel — a Jewish prayer — be performed on the day. In 1973, Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren added to the custom by introducing a citation of blessings over Hallel.
Israel Independence Day timeline
The British Mandate of Palestine ends and Isreal is declared an independent nation.
The first Independence Day is celebrated in Tel Aviv with a military parade.
A million Jewish refugees, plus 250,000 holocaust survivors, settle in Isreal.
After several months of tension, Israel launches an attack against Egypt, which leaves Israel in control of East Jerusalem, all of West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights, and Sinai.
Israel Independence Day FAQs
For how many years has Israel been independent?
The country has been independent for 74 years.
How is Independence Day celebrated in Israel?
The events of the day start with an official torch-lighting ceremony, then a congratulatory speech is delivered by the speaker of Israel’s parliament, which is followed by firework shows, live performances, and dance. The ceremony concludes with the Isreal Prize award ceremony, where selected citizens are recognized for their cultural contribution.
How do you say Happy Independence Day in Israel?
You simply say, “Yom ha’atzmaut sameach!”
How to Observe Israel Independence Day
Attend the official ceremony on Mount Herzl
If you want to traditionally and patriotically celebrate Israel’s independence, attend the ceremony held every year on Mount Herzl. We guarantee that you’ll be entertained.
Bake cupcakes of the flag
Love to bake? You can bake cupcakes or brownies with an Israeli flag design to acknowledge independence day.
Read and research more into Israel’s history
Interested in Israel’s history? Now is the perfect time to learn all about the nation and its people.
5 Interesting Facts About Israel
There are many beaches in Israel
The region has 137 beaches.
Peanut allergies are not very common
The babies here are 10 times less likely to be allergic to peanuts.
Eighth most expensive country in the world
Israel earned the title of the eighth most expensive country to live in, in 2020.
They are huge consumers of doughnuts
Israelis eat 24 million doughnuts during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah.
Highest number of museums in the world
Israel has more than 230 museums.
Why Israel Independence Day is Important
It celebrates patriotism
We love the day because it celebrates the patriotism and unity of the citizens in staying together as a nation. Let’s face it, for a nation to truly succeed and become developed, it needs to attain independence.
The day is super fun, as it’s usually celebrated with so many festivities across all regions of the country. Activities include parades, parties, grand balls, dinners, and other forms of entertainment.
Reminds us of history
The day reminds us of the history of Israel. It highlights Israel's journey toward independence.
Israel Independence Day dates