Yom Haatzmaut is Israeli Independence Day, a day of great celebration held every year in late April or early May – on the day (in the Hebrew calendar) which, in 1948, Israel declared its independence. Across Israel, events and celebrations take place 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. In 2016, Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) falls from sundown on May 11, to sundown on May 12.
The Israeli Flag stands tall on Yom Haatzmaut. Image: Yehudaco, via Flickr
The major State Ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut takes place on the eve of Yom Haatzmaut at Mount Herzl, Israel’s National Ceremony in Jerusalem. This event marks the end of Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s memorial day, which falls immediately before), and the beginning of the celebration for Yom Haatzmaut. The ceremony involves performances, speeches, and a ceremonial lighting of twelve torches which symbolizes the Twelve tribes of Israel by twelve citizens who have made a great impact upon the country. At the same time, towns and cities across the country have parties and firework displays.
The following day, parades and events take place across Israel including military fly-pasts (see the schedule for the Independence Day Fly Over), parades, a 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, the Knesset chairperson, and the Supreme Court president.
Yom Haatzmaut is a real family day, and Israelis flock to Israel’s National Parks, hiking trails, and beauty spots, for barbecues and picnics.
Yom Haatzmaut Events 2016
See below the main Yom Haatzmaut events or dedicated pages for Yom Haatzmaut in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem events.
Yom Haatzmaut in Tel Aviv
Yom Haatzmaut in Tel Aviv. Image: n0nick on Flickr
The main Tel Aviv Yom Haatzmaut event will be held in Rabin Square, starting at 19:00 on May 11. It will feature the military band, and film lips from throughout Israel’s history will be presented on giant screens whilst fireworks paint the sky.
Other events will take place across the city, plus of course, many parties, see Yom Haatzmaut in Tel Aviv for details.
Yom Haatzmaut in Jerusalem
Yom Haatzmaut in Jeruasalem. Image: elibrody on Flickr
Yom Haatzmaut events in Jerusalem will begin across the city from 21:00. See our dedicated article about Yom Haatzmaut in Jerusalem for more details
Yom Haatzmaut Events Elsewhere in Israel
Events will be taking place in almost every city (there are far too many for us to list).
There are also great events taking place in museums and national parks across the country on Independence Day. These include free opening at many museums in Israel.