Celebrations include a reception at the President’s residence honoring 120 excelling IDF soldiers, the International Bible Contest and the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
President Isaac Herzog is celebrating his first Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – as President of the State of Israel.
On Thursday morning, as Israel rejoices in 74 years of independence, he opened the day’s central celebrations at the President’s Residence.
The President and his wife Michal were joined by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and his wife Yael.
The event began with an honorary flyover, with the participation of Israeli Air Force combat planes and helicopters, in a tribute to the outstanding soldiers, representing all branches of the IDF.
For the first time ever, the airshow included Judea and Samaria and the biblical city of Hebron in particular.
President Herzog excitedly addressed the flyover pilots over the radio system, telling them, “To all IAF pilots and IDF soldiers, in the skies, at sea, and on land, as we mark 74 years of Israeli independence, Happy Independence Day!”
The President also reviewed an honor guard of IDF servicemen and women.
Memorial Day, or Yom Hazikaron, ended on Wednesday evening with the national torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem that ushered in the 74th anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoram Yair (Yaya), Yael Scherer, Lt.-Col. (res.) Munir Madi,. Elizaveta Sherstuk, Uri Banki, Judge Mika Banki, Idan Kleiman, Asael Shabo, Kalman Samuels, Dr. Simcha Gethon, Angel Alon, Lt. Hadar Cohen, Rita Yahan-Farouz, known as Rita, and the commander of the Yamam police counter-terrorism unit were honored with lighting the celebratory torches torch during the ceremony, representing the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Partying took place across the country, with concerts and other performances scheduled through the night. In major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the streets were packed.
Celebrations during the day include a reception at the President’s residence honoring 120 excelling IDF soldiers, the International Bible Contest and the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem.
Israelis traditionally celebrated the day with a Yom Ha’atzmaut picnic or barbecue and hikes.
Independence Day has the status of a minor Jewish holiday on which the Hallel songs of praise from the book of Psalms are recited and joyous prayers are held to thank God for the miracle that is the Jewish state. At the Western Wall on Wednesday night, Chief Rabbi David Lau led the evening service and festive Hallel prayers, to which thousands sang and danced, waving Israeli flags.
United with Israel contributed to this report.
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