Israel Independence Day

 

The Israeli Declaration of Independence made on May 14, 1948, the day before the British Mandate was due to expire, was the announcement by David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, that the new Jewish state named the State of Israel had been formally established in parts of what was known as the British Mandate of Palestine and on land where, in antiquity, the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah had once been.

 

The event is celebrated annually in Israel and across the US with a national holiday called Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day). Every year, we host a community-wide celebration, attracting more than 2,500 people annually. We celebrate Israel's birthday with Israeli entertainment, food, kids' activities and more.

 

Did You Know?

 

Yom Hazikaron: Israel’s Memorial Day

 

This day honoring fallen soldiers -- observed on April 18, 2018 -- immediately precedes Israel's Independence Day.

 

Israel’s 70th Yom Hazikaron is observed on April 18, 2018.

 

There is just a split second that separates the somber end of Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron) from the joyful beginning of Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut). But it is a moment filled with poignant meaning. It is when Israelis acknowledge the overwhelming debt they owe to those who fell in active service in all of Israel’s wars beginning in 1948, and without whose sacrifice there would be no Independence Day to celebrate...for there would be no Israel.

 

Remembrance Day is observed for a full 24 hours on the Hebrew date of the 4th of lyar. Yom Hazikaron is one of four holidays that have been added to the Hebrew calendar since the founding of the State of Israel. It is a solemn day of civil, military and religious ceremonies beginning with the lighting of remembrance candles in army camps, schools, synagogues and public places. Flags are lowered to half-staff, and in the morning, the whole country comes to a standstill as two minutes of silence are observed. It is as though everyone and everything is suddenly frozen. Traffic comes to a halt. People stop speaking mid-sentence. Everything is suspended for those two long minutes, which hold so many bitter and tragic memories.

 

 

When the long day of mourning draws to a close, as sunset merges with night, a siren sounds—a long, mournful note fraught with sorrow. Then the stars appear and suddenly there is laughter and music and fireworks as Israel celebrates Independence Day.

 

 

It is fitting that it should be so. Before the celebrations, before the affirmation that we have survived, that— despite all odds “Am Yisrael Chai,” the people of Israel live, we must first acknowledge and pay tribute to those magnificent young people who gave their lives to ensure it. As Yom Hazikaron comes to a close, Israelis are saddened by the circumstances in which they live, but they realize that the only way to continue their lives and secure the fate of the Jewish state is to remain determined and not falter. How do you find meaning in the loss of young lives? Israel must go on living!

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Naomi Shemer

 

Naomi Shemer , born in 1930 on Kibbutz Kinneret, was a leading Israeli musician and songwriter, hailed as the "first lady of Israeli song and poetry." Her song "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" ("Jerusalem of Gold") written in 1967, became an unofficial second anthem after Israel won the Six-Day War that year and reunited Jerusalem.

 

Naomi’s musical skill was evident during her childhood, when she began to lead community singing on the kibbutz. After completing school she was sent to study at the academy of music in

Jerusalem and upon returning to the kibbutz taught music to the kibbutz children. Shemer began her army service in the Nahal, eventually joining its cultural department. During her military service she wrote several songs for a review by the Central Command troupe.

 

Shemer did her own song writing and composing, set famous poems to music, such as those of the Israeli poet, Rachel, and the American Walt Whitman. She also translated and adapted popular songs into Hebrew, such as the Beatles song "Let It Be" in 1973 In 1983, Shemer received the Israel Prize for Hebrew poetry.

 

Shemer died in June 2004 and was buried at Kibbutz Kineret, where she was born.

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Omri Casspi

 

Omri Casspi (born June 22, 1988) is an Israeli professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).  He is 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 meters) tall, and plays the small forward position, but he can play also at the power forward position.

 

He was drafted 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, making him the first Israeli to be selected in the first round of an NBA draft.  With his Kings debut in 2009, Casspi became the first Israeli to play in an NBA game. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for him in June 2011. He signed with the Houston Rockets in July 2013. In July 2014, Casspi was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a three-team trade, but was later waived.  He then returned to Sacramento prior to the 2014–15 season. In February 2017, he was traded to the Pelicans alongside DeMarcus Cousins.

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Yitzhak Rabin

 

Following is part of the address given by Yitzhak Rabin upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, 1994:

 

…"At an age when most youngsters are struggling to unravel the secrets of mathematics and the mysteries of the Bible; at an age when first love blooms; at the tender age of 16, I was handed a rifle so that I could defend myself—and also, unfortunately, so that I could kill in an hour of danger. That was not my dream. I wanted to be a water engineer. I studied in an agricultural school, and I thought that being a water engineer was an important profession in the parched Middle East. I still think so today. However, I was compelled to resort to the gun. I served in the military for decades. Under my command, young men and women who wanted to live, wanted to love, went to their deaths instead. Under my command, they killed the enemy’s men who had been sent out to kill us.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, in my current position, I have ample opportunity to fly over the State of Israel, and lately over other parts of the Middle East as well. The view from the plane is breathtaking: deep blue lakes, dark-green fields, dun-colored deserts, stone-gray mountains, and the entire countryside  peppered with whitewashed, red-roofed houses.

 

And cemeteries. Graves as far as the eye can see. Hundreds of cemeteries in our part of the Middle East—in our home in Israel but also in Egypt, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. From the window of the plane, from thousands of feet above them, the countless tombstones are silent. But the sound of their outcry has carried from the Middle East throughout the world for decades.

 

Standing here today, I wish to salute loved ones—and foes. I wish to salute all the fallen of all the countries in all the wars; the members of their families who bear the enduring burden of bereavement; the disabled whose scars will never heal. Tonight I wish to pay tribute to each and every one of them, for this important prize is theirs, and theirs alone.”…

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Israeli Food Recipes You Can’t Live Without

 

Israeli food has been on the up and up the past couple of years.  From colorful salads to creamy spreads to rosewater-spiked sweets, it’s no wonder that Israeli cuisine is getting the spotlight.  Israeli cuisine is a melting pot of various Middle Eastern dishes, which is why the food is so great.  Enjoy Huffington Post’s favorite recipes for these delicious Israeli foods!

 

1. Israeli Salad

2. Homemade Labneh

3. Sabich

4. Shakshuka

5. Basic Hummus

6. Baba Ganoush

7. Rainbow Sabich Salad

8. Spiced Labneh

9. Burekas Stuffed With Celery,

Fennel And Potato

10. Kale Khachapuri

11. Lablabi (Middle Eastern Spicy Chickpea Stew)

12. Falafel And Hummus Mezze Platter

13. Lamb Shawarma

14. Semolina Cake Soaked In Lemon Rosewater Syrup

 

 

Did You Know?

 

Achinoam Nini

 

Achinoam Nini was born on June 23, 1969. Outside of Israel, the Israeli singer is known as Noa.

 

Nini was born to a Yemenite Jewish family, and moved to New York City at the age of two. She attended the SAR Academy and the Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz High School, remaining in New York until her return to Israel alone at the age of 16. She completed her mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces performing with a military entertainment troupe.

After her release she studied music at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where she met her long-time partner and collaborator Gil Dor. 

 

Nini has performed in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, Olympia in Paris, Rome's Colosseum, The Barbican in London, Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, California, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, as well as having done numerous successful tours in major venues and festivals throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

 

Nini has recorded songs in Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, and Yemenite.

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Amos Oz

 

Amos Oz, born in 1939, is an Israeli writer, novelist, journalist and intellectual. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. He is regarded as Israel's most famous living author.

 

Oz's work has been published in 42 languages, including Arabic, in 43 countries. He has received many honors and awards, among them the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature, the Heinrich Heine Prize and the Israel Prize. In 2007, a selection from the Chinese translation of A Tale of Love and Darkness was the first work of Modern Hebrew literature to appear in an official Chinese textbook.

 

Since 1967, Oz has been a prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

 

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Hannah Senesh

 

Hannah Senesh (originally Szenes) was a paratrooper trained to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.  Captured and killed by the Nazi's, she is still a national heroine in Israel.

 

Through her brief but noteworthy life (July 17, 1921 - November 7, 1944,) Senesh became a symbol of idealism and self-sacrifice.  Her poems, made famous in part because of her unfortunate death, reveal a woman imbued with hope, even in the face of adverse circumstances.

 

The following poem was found in Hannah's death cell after her execution:

 

One - two - three... eight feet long

Two strides across, the rest is dark...

Life is a fleeting question mark

One - two - three... maybe another week.

Or the next month may still find me here,

But death, I feel is very near.

I could have been 23 next July

I gambled on what mattered most,

  the dice were cast.  I lost.