Israel: Independence Day

From the sunset of April 14 until the nightfall of April 15, Israel is celebrating its 73rd Independence Day. On this occasion, H.E. Mordechai RODGOLD, Ambassador of Israel to Austria speaks about the history of the day, special traditions and this year’s celebrations.

How will you celebrate this year’s Independence Day?

The embassy is celebrating this year’s Independence Day with a virtual reception. The event will showcase a special tribute by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and short videos about Israeli culture, innovation and cuisine. Unfortunately there will be no reception or any other physical event due to the Corona.

Do you have special traditions regarding the Independence Day?

Independence Day is happening in the midst of the spring, when the whole country is blooming and it is a public holiday. Thus, many Israelis go out for walks in the nature, or visit one of the numerous nature reserves in Israel where the entrance on this day is free, as well as in many museums and cultural institutions. People are also gathering with friends and family to make open air grill parties. On the evening, there are many free concerts and dance stages on the streets in the main cities. There is usually also an air show by the Air Force flying over the whole country (it’s easy: Israel has approximately the same size as Lower Austria). The President is also having several public events at his residence (such as hosting the foreign ambassadors), which are screened on TV.

What is the history of your Independence Day?

Israelis are celebrating the reclaimed freedom of the Jewish people in its homeland. For hundreds of years it was the dream of Jews around the world to have an independent state again. Twice a year at Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Pessach (Passover), Jews are wishing each other „Next year in Jerusalem“. On May 15, 1948 with the proclamation of Israel’s independence as a Jewish and democratic State, the dream became a reality.  

Key photo: First Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, declaring the independence of Israel in 1948/From the Embassy of Israel in Austria