Israel is Unique Among Nations. Here is Another Reason Why.

The definition of “unique,” is markedly different from “unusual,” “rare,” or even “uncommon.” Unique means: ‘one of a kind.’ There is no other. Something unique stands, and falls, alone.

A quick internet search shows that practically no other country (except perhaps only Holland and Finland) connects their Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) and Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) the way Israel does in a two-day event; somber memorial day into festive independence celebration. The ceremonies at key sites throughout Israel to remember and honor those who gave their lives are moving and significant.

And because of their sacrifices throughout the recent past, and the unfortunate still continuing efforts of our enemies to destroy and kill all of us, we can experience that unique Israeli transition from the solemness of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Remembrance Day) to the joy and celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut. It is movingly televised live from Har Herzel.

This year’s Yom HaZikaron is even more emotionally relevant. We have just lived through the horrors of the invasion that occurred recently on 7 October (holy Sabbath and Simḥat Torah holiday) and continues in this current war, where the enemies’ goal is to destroy the State of Israel and the Jewish people. This makes this year’s Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut more meaningful as a celebration of our continued survival as a people and strength as a nation.

Pesach ends just two weeks before Yom HaZikaron (eve 12 May) and Yom HaAtzmaut (eve 13 May). Also, Pesach ends one week before Yom HaShoah (eve 5 May). With most of us off from school and work…What to do this Ḥol HaMoed Pesach 5784/2024 (24, 25, 26, and 28 of April)?

Here is an idea: Besides going to all the popular and crowded places during this Ḥol HaMoed Pesach vacation, how about also going to sites related to the wars that have been fought that allow you to continue to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day)?

The history of the modern State of Israel can be divided this into two broad eras: (1) Pre-State (1880’s to 1948) and post-State (1949 to Present). The pre-State era could focus on the Aliyah movements (under the Ottomans and the British), the revolutionary movements to oust the British and create the independent Jewish State per the League of Nations Mandate, including the War of Independence. (2) While the post-State era would include all the subsequent broken peace agreements, infiltrations, wars, and the continuing fight against terrorism.

For example:

At many of these sites you can walk the battlefields (with or without a guide), watch interactive presentations, and/or listen to those who were there talk about their personal experiences. It puts things into a unique perspective and personal reality.

Question: How many of you are planning to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut by having a Mangal (outdoor BBQ or grill)? Raise your hands.

Visiting these sites before Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut will give you, and (importantly) your children, a personal and deeper appreciation for those who fought, and continue to fight, for the modern State of Israel and the security of us all. And therefore, you will experience a more meaningful commemoration and celebration combination that is unique being an Israeli.

As citizens of the State of Israel, we are all Israelis. You might be an Israeli-[fill in the blank], but if you’ve earned citizenship, then you are an Israeli. Learn, feel, experience the distant and very recent history that allows you to stand here.

In a positive world, we are united by a common cause. In a negative world, we are united by a common enemy. It doesn’t matter from where you came or where you are now. Left or right politically. Secular or religious, including Ḥaredi. Jewish or not. Old or (especially) young. As citizens we all share this history, heritage, and culture. As Israelis we are bonded by our common cause and common enemies.

Go learn and experience, then truly appreciate and enjoy your Yom HaAtzmaut party with family and friends.

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About the Author
David is a former NYC advertising agency, corporate-side marketing executive, and consultant. Prior to his career in advertising David spent 5 years in the financial arena. David holds a BS and MBA (both in Marketing & Finance) from New York University. He has been an officer/board member/speaker of industry, educational, and community organizations, as well as several new business startups. David is a US Patent Holder and published author (Hey Israel – You’re Perfect. Now Change (free) and How to Run the Business of YOU). See his website for more information and other writings. David is a retired instructor from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. He lives in Ashkelon, Israel with his wife and is an active volunteer with the Ashkelon Search and Rescue.
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