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Yom Ha’atzmaut: Happy 73rd Birthday, Israel!

April 16, 2021

by: Kate Norman

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The Israel Air Force air show in Jerusalem yesterday

Friday, 16 April 2021 | Israel entered a new atmosphere of rejoicing and merrymaking as the Jewish state celebrated its 73rd birthday from Wednesday night to Thursday night.

Israel celebrates the anniversary of its rebirth every year on the fifth of Iyar, the second month on the Hebrew calendar. Iyar 5 is the Hebrew date of Israel’s anniversary, May 14, 1948, the day Israel’s founding fathers read aloud and signed the Jewish state’s Declaration of Independence.

Every year, Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) is a joyous spree of celebration. Countless Israeli flags featuring a white background and blue Star of David are waving through the streets and hanging on balconies, and Israelis decked in blue and white flood the streets, dancing, singing and celebrating freedom in their homeland.

The jubilant celebration of Israel’s anniversary comes after a somber time of mourning, as Israelis have just finished commemorating special days set aside to remember and honor those who perished in the Holocaust (Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day) and lives lost in service to Israel and in terror attacks (Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims).

Those remembrance days are important for the people to remember each life lost and why Israel is important as a homeland for the Jewish people to live in safety and freedom. And so after remembering the perished Jews and those who fought for their freedom, the people of Israel celebrate their independent state.

On May 14, 1948—just a few years after the Holocaust, which saw six million Jewish people murdered—Israel’s Declaration of Independence was issued and a sovereign Jewish state officially reborn after thousands of years in exile. The declaration of the establishment of Israel reiterated the need for a safe, independent Jewish homeland.

“The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people—the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe—was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by reestablishing in Eretz Israel [“the Land of Israel”] the Jewish state, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the community of nations.”

The declaration later adds: “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.”

Israelis aren’t the only ones to celebrate the special holiday. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also posted a video message to Twitter on behalf of President Joe Biden and the US wishing a happy birthday to Israel.

“We send our warmest wishes to the people of Israel as you celebrate your independence day,” Blinken tweeted along with his video message. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad, and we look forward to strengthening all aspects of our partnership. Yom Ha’atzmaut sameach [“happy Independence Day!”]”

The state secretary also referenced the progress made between the Jewish state and her Arab and Muslim neighbors last year under the historic Abraham Accords. Those groundbreaking peace deals were negotiated under the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Blinken indicated that the current administration wants to continue down the same path, ushering in more peace deals between Israel and surrounding nations.

“The United States welcomes and supports the recent normalization agreements,” Blinken said in the message. “We will continue to urge more countries to normalize relations with Israel and will look for other opportunities to expand cooperation among countries in the region.”

And Israel certainly wants to see more peace deals. Today, the Jewish state operates by the same principals the founding fathers signed on the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv 73 years ago:

“We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”

Happy birthday, Israel! Join us in praying for this land and asking for many more years of peace and prosperity.

Posted on April 16, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 16, 2021)

Photo Credit: Sarah Yoder/bridgesforpeace.com

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