On May 3 at sundown, the celebration of two back-to-back national holidays began:
May 3 – Erev Yom Ha’Zikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day for Heroes and Fallen Soldiers) At 8 pm on May 3rd, a siren (tzfira) is sounded across Israel to honor those lost in service to Israel and the entire country cries. There will be there will be televised ceremonies and ceremonies in every city cemetery. The Navy will dress in bright white, Air Force in esteemed beige uniforms and the Ground Forces in its green dress uniforms.
May 4 – Yom Ha’Zikaron – more ceremonies – a somber day – televised commemoration.
Evening: Erev Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day). This year is the 74th anniversary of the modern-day State of Israel. So, in a complete role-reversal, BBQ, good food, stages with musicians, televised military productions, etc.
May 5 – Yom Ha’Atzmaut –most are off work, a day for picnics, gatherings, falafels, Israeli salad, ice cream, etc.
These are holidays of brotherhood –Israeli males will call each other “Ach-ee” (my brother) all year long, for they have all served together in the IDF.
Today, as throughout all of its history, Israelis continue to face astonishing hostility from neighboring nations and beyond—vicious acts of violent terrorism on Israel’s streets, Hamas building tunnels under Israel’s land and bombs from Gaza, the threat of nuclear attack by Iran, and Hezbollah stocked with bombs along the northern border.
Of course, one-third of Israelis don’t celebrate like the other two-thirds. One-third of the nation of Israel today lives in poverty . . . immigrants, who found hunger and homelessness when they got to Israel, in need of clothing, furniture, the very basics. Their celebratory meal will be quite modest to meager at best, such as a meal of pita and humus. And yet they are still elated to be in Israel as their new home.
Uniting in the work of Israel Relief Aid enables us to receive the reward of having helped this one-third, of having strengthened the nation of Israel . . . having brought joy, comfort, and hope to needy Israelis.