The nation of Israel is turning 72! Israeli Independence Day, or Yom HaAtzmaut, is usually filled with barbecues of friends and families, beach days, and lots of fun in celebration of the establishment of Modern Israel and the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land in 1948. While today’s celebration might not have the mass gatherings that there often is, the spirit of the day is still alive and well and the people will still celebrate!
While the actual establishment of Israel happened on May 14th, 1948 according to the Gregorian calendar, the celebration of the day annually occurs beginning the 5th of Iyar. Iyar is the the second month of the Hebrew calendar. Israeli Memorial day, or “Yom Hazikaron” comes the day directly before. Memorial Day in Israel is a very somber day. With the entire country having served in the military, this makes for a very somber and meaningful memorial of those that have fallen. You will find no celebrations that day, no barbecues or gatherings. As soon as the sun sets however, the feelings change completely and while they mourned the sacrifice the day before, they celebrate the independence immediately following.
Typically an Israeli Independence Day is full of fantastic celebrations including an air show by the air force, concerts in parks, rooftop parties, family gatherings and parades. This year of course, things are a bit different. However, while the way that the celebration will occur will be different in 2020, the sentiment will not! The Israeli people are more thankful than ever for their self-governance. That is something to celebrate!
Here are some ways you can celebrate Israeli Independence Day wherever you are!
Independence Day Food
Who doesn’t love good food to celebrate with? Israeli’s love to barbecue on Independence Day! Grilled meats and vegetable fill their plates as they gather together in parks and backyards. Why not enjoy at home wherever you are and try your hand at a fantastic authentic meal. How about Israeli Spring Chicken in Pita sandwiches? Here are instructions for a full Israeli barbecue!
We can’t wait until we see our own newsfeeds filled with fresh pictures of tours of the Holy Land, but we have to wait a little bit longer. In the meantime, Zoom is the lifeline for many to stay connected around the world. Why not use an Israeli background to help share your love of Israel with everyone you have a Zoom call with? The Israeli Ministry of Tourism has provided fun backgrounds ready to download for free and use!
Take a Virtual Tour
While Israel’s borders are currently closed to outside visitors, many of Israel’s top sites have developed ways for you to visit virtually and enjoy Israel, and get excited about planning a tour for the future!
One of these sites is the City of David, which would have been Jerusalem in David’s time. This area is just below the Temple Mount and has been the location of many fantastic finds in of ancient Jerusalem including Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the Pool of Siloam, Pilgrim’s Road, and many artifacts including a seal with a name found in the Bible. The staff at the City of David have constructed a fun visual tour including photos, videos, and articles including activities just for kids. Click here to enter into the City of David!
The Israeli Museum is also offering a virtual tour of the the museum’s offerings. The really fun part of this virtual is you are actually able to freely move around inside of a 3D tour of the museum! You can just click around inside of the photo and move to that area of the museum! They also have children’s activities and other resources. What better way to learn about the history of Israel on Independence Day!
We hope you are able to find a way to celebrate Israeli Independence Day with us! Remember it is not only a celebration of a nation, but a celebration of the fulfillment of prophecy and God’s promise. In times like this, what better reminder that God has moved mountains and we WILL see him do it again!
Excited to see Israel in person? We are excited to welcome you! It’s never too early to start planning your own tour!