Israel Independence Day is celebrated annually on the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, according to the Hebrew calendar, on 5 Iyar (this celebrated one day early because of the Sabbath). The day preceding this celebration is devoted to the memory of those who gave their lives for the achievement of the country's independence and its continued existence.
This proximity is intended to remind people of the heavy price paid for independence. On this day the entire nation remembers its debt and expresses eternal gratitude to its sons and daughters who gave their lives for the achievement of the country's independence and its continued existence.
PM Netanyahu: "After Remembrance Day, the State of Israel will celebrate its 64th birthday. The unbreakable bond between Remembrance Day and Independence Day underscores the fact that our dear ones who fell in Israel's wars did not fall in vain. Thanks to them, the State arose. Thanks to them, the State of Israel will continue to develop and prosper, and thanks to them the members of the younger generation will also be able to live their lives in security and tranquility."
On May 14, 1948, the day the British Mandate expired, the new Jewish state - the State of Israel - was formally established in parts of what was known as the British Mandate for Palestine. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence was restored after 2,000 years.
Independence Day is a celebration of the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the birthplace of the Jewish people. In this land, the Jewish people began to develop its distinctive religion and culture some 4,000 years ago, and here it has preserved an unbroken physical presence, for centuries as a sovereign state, at other times under foreign domination. Throughout their long history, the yearning to return to the land has been the focus of Jewish life. Theodor Herzl, the leader and founder of the Zionist movement, increased international recognition for the need of a Jewish state.
Since its establishment, Israel continues to be a homeland to the thousands who make their way to Israel annually. It is home to some of the holiest religious sites of the three major religions, all which enjoy the democratic rights delineated in the .
Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars
Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron, which begins on Tuesday evening, April 24, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with awe and honor for the fallen. The official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one minute siren.
Officer places a flag on a fallen soldier's grave. (Archive photo: IDF Spokesperson)
A total of 22,993 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860, the year that the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods.
Since the end of the War of Independence, 2,457 people have been killed in Israel in terror attacks - 14 in the past year.
In the past year, since Remembrance Day 2011, 126 members of the security forces - police, IDF, Border Police, Israel Security Agency and other organizations - have been killed in the service of the state.
On Wednesday, ceremonies commence at 11:00 AM at 44 IDF military cemeteries located throughout the country following a two minute blast of the siren. There will also be a ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died during the War of Independence, which will take place near the Sha'ar Hagai Junction. Israel's flag, adorned with a black ribbon and memorial flame, is placed on each and every grave of those who fell in Israel's battles and are buried in military cemeteries throughout Israel. It expresses the country's respect for the fallen as well as the entire country's participation in the grief of the families.
"The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly..."
- In memory of those who have fallen while on duty in the Israeli Foreign Service
Israel's 64th Independence Day celebrations will commence on Wednesday evening, April 25, immediately upon the conclusion of Remembrance Day, when the state flag is raised to full mast at a national ceremony on Mount Herzl, at which twelve torches are lit. Independence Day is filled with festivities and celebrations including picnics, barbecues, family gatherings and nature trips. Balconies, car windows, store fronts and more are liberally decorated with Israeli flags.
On Israel Independence Day, Thursday, April 26 between 9:30-11:00 am (Israel time) the central Independence Day festivities will take place at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, with the participation of the country’s entire top political-security leadership. For the first time this year, the President of Israel invites the entire Jewish people, in Israel and around the world, to take an active part in the Independence Day celebrations and to watch the ceremony broadcast live on President Peres' Facebook page. At the conclusion of the event, the entire broadcast will also be uploaded to You Tube.
The event will start with a festive, honorary flyover of combat planes and helicopters, immediately followed by a military review by the President and Chief of Staff of the 120 recipients of the President’s Outstanding Soldiers Award. Following the review, the main performance will take place on the lawn of the President’s Residence during which the President, the Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister will sing their favorite Independence Day songs together with the IDF band and with the background accompaniment of top singers and military bands. The President and Chief of staff will also give special Independence Day addresses during the Outstanding Soldier Award ceremony.
Israel celebrates 64 - Special greeting for Israel Independence Day from President Peres
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel's 64th Independence Day
Population of Israel
On the eve of Israel's 64th Independence Day, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the population of Israel numbers 7,881,000 - of them 5,931,000 Jews (75.3% of the total population) and 1,623,000 Arabs (20.6%). On the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the total population numbered 806,000. Today, over 70% of the total Jewish population are "Sabras" - born in Israel - compared with 35% native-born in 1948.
Since Independence Day last year 161,000 babies were born, and 19,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. The total population of Israel grew since the 63rd Independence Day by approximately 137,500 - a growth of 1.8%.
In 1948 there was only one city in Israel with more than 100,000 residents - Tel Aviv-Yafo. Today, 14 cities number more than 100,000 residents, of which six number more than 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Haifa, Rishon LeZiyyon, Petah Tiqwa and Ashdod.
Relevant documents and websites
- (in Hebrew)
- (in Hebrew)
- : Headlines from the world press May 1948
- Israel at 64: A Statistical glimpse
- Map of Israel within Boundaries and Ceasefire Lines - 2006
- FACTS ABOUT ISRAEL: The State
- FACTS ABOUT ISRAEL: History - Independence
- Israel's wars