David Ben-Gurion, who was the first prime minister of Israel, publicly read the Declaration of Independence of Israel on May 14, 1948. According to the Jewish calendar, this was the fifth day of Iyar, the eighth month of the civil year, in the year 5708. The anniversary of this date on the Jewish calendar is known as Yom Ha’atzmaut and usually falls in April or May of the Gregorian Calendar.
What Do People Do?
Independence Day is a holiday in Israel and, like many Jewish observances, this “day” starts the evening beforehand. On this evening, the speaker of the Israeli Parliament, or Knesset, holds a speech and there is a dramatic televised presentation. Groups of soldiers carry Israeli flags and form shapes that represent symbols of Judaism, including a seven-branched candelabrum, known as a Menorah, and a regular hexagram, known as the Star of David. In addition, 12 beacons are lit by people who made a special contribution to Israeli society in a particular field. Each of the beacons represents one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
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