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Israel Moves from Mourning to Celebration

The people of Israel changed their national mood from one of loss to one of jubilation as Memorial Day became Independence Day at sundown on Monday. The Times of Israel reports on the shift from mourning to celebration as Yom HaZikaron turned to Yom HaAtzmaut and the Israeli people came together in national unity:

Israel abruptly crossed over from grief to jubilation at nightfall Monday, as Memorial Day came to a close and the country’s 69th Independence Day began.

Mournful and somber speeches gave way to fireworks, concerts and parties across the country, with flags promptly raised back from half-staff. At the military on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the transition was marked with an extravagant state ceremony featuring a speech from Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein, the lighting of torches by 12 people who are seen to have made an outstanding contribution to society, and much singing and dancing.

The juxtaposition of the two days is a key element of Israelis’ experience of national independence, ensuring that no commemoration completely excludes the achievement wrought by the sacrifice of the fallen and their families, and that the elation of independence is never far removed from an awareness of its cost...

Edelstein spoke on the theme of the evening, “Jerusalem: the Eternal Capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish People,” marking 50 years since the reunification of the city during 1967’s Six Day War.

“Jerusalem is the source of strength and spirit of the Jewish people. So we must protect the unity of Jerusalem, but no less we must protect Israeli unity,” he said. “Not every right-winger is a fascist and not every leftist is a traitor.”

Tags: Holidays , Israel

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