Memorial and Independence on the Same Day?

Tonight and tomorrow is Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day.  The memorial days leads immediately into  Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence  Day.

In the first two years of the State of Israel, the  government couldn’t decide on what  would be the appropriate day for Memorial  Day, so they were actually celebrated both on the same day.  Understandably  this was too emotionally  and technically difficult, so in 1951, the day was moved one  day back.

This  juxtaposition of the two days feels right in Israel. Let’s take a virtual visit to Independence Hall  in Tel Aviv to understand this more deeply. On May 14th, 1948, emotions were running  high. The events of that day changed  the world. Golda Meir explains in her autobiography that David Ben Gurion announced, “’…by the virtue of our historic and natural right and the resolution of  the General Assembly of the United Nations, do hereby proclaim the establishment  of  a  Jewish State  in the Land of  Israel – the State of Israel.’  The State of Israel! My eyes filled with tears and my hands shook. We had  done  it. We had brought the Jewish State into  existence…The long exile was over.”

Throughout Israel, there was  dancing and celebrating. And yet, not only was the State  declared with the understanding  that the Arab armies would likely  soon attack,  but there  was at the same time great sadness about  those who had been murdered in the Holocaust (90 percent of Israelis at that time had lost at least one relative) and many Jews had already been killed in Palestine in the years preceding the establishment of the State.

Golda was one of the people to sign the Declaration. She  comments, “All I recall about the actual signing of the proclamation is  that I was crying openly, not able  even to  wipe the  tears  from my face, and  I remember that a  man called David Tzvi Pinchas who belonged to the religious  Mizrahi Party came over to try to calm me. ‘Why do you weep so much, Golda?’  he asked  me. ‘Because it breaks my heart to think of all those who should have  been here today  and are not,’ I replied, but I still couldn’t stop crying.”

And, just as we will  do  this  year when we transition on Wednesday afternoon from Rememberance  Day to Independence Day, Golda concludes on a  high note, “After the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra played the Hatikvah, Ben Gurion  rapped  his gavel for the third time; ‘The State of Israel is established. This meeting is ended.’ We all shook hands and embraced each other. Israel  was a reality.” (My Life, Golda Meir)

May we all have a meaningful Yom HaZikaron  and a wonderful celebration for  Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Join me on a walking  tour to learn more about the State of Israel, Knesset, Supreme  Court, emblem and more:

© 2012, Lisa (Leah) Bowman. All Rights Reserved.

Walking tours in Jerusalem:


One thought on “Memorial and Independence on the Same Day?

  1. A tour with Leah is like reading this blog.
    She has so much important detail to share.
    I could not help but wonder how she can recall so much history. Also she does not talk at you with a bunch of facts, she makes the history come alive. She allows questions and they don’t throw her off track. My wife and I had her all to ourselves and believe me we were lifelong friends by the time the tour was over.

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