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April 22, 1988 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-22

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Yom Haatzmaut
An Israeli's Perspective

Yefet Ozery is the community
shaliach, based at the Maple/Drake
Jewish Community Center, and the
author of this month's L'Chayim
theme — Israel Independence Day.
For each edition of L'Chayim, a
rabbi, a Jewish educator or other
notable from the community will
present an overview

In Israel, as soon as the sirens
marking the end of Yom HaZikaron,
Memorial Day, stop the
Independence Day celebration
commences in Israel. The parties
and festive events take place in
private homes, community centers
and cultural centers but mainly in
the streets of each town.
The festivities begin as
darkness falls with fireworks
illuminating the skies. In the big
cities the streets are full of Israelis
and tourists on the evening prior to
Yom Haatzmaut. It is so crowded
that it is hard to move without
pushing and touching the people as
you make your way. People
approach each other as if they are
old acquaintances and feelings of
brotherhood prevail.

The celebration will
continue well into the
night and in many places
only the sunrise of Yom
Haatzmaut gives the
celebrating crowd a hint
that the time has come
to go home to sleep.

Hora dancing takes place in the
main streets that are closed for
traffic for the occasion.
Loudspeakers placed in major
locations broadcast music and add
to the festivity of the evening.
Entertainers, singers, and
comedians perform for the crowd
free of charge and the streets turn
into a huge amphitheatre. The
celebration will continue well into
the night and in many places only



20300 Civic Center Drive
Suite 240
Southfield, Michigan 48076
April 22, 1988
Associate Publisher Arthur M. Horwitz
News Editor Heidi Press
Jewish Experiences for Families
Advisor Harlene W. Appleman
Illustrator Neil Beckman

DAY APRIL 22 1988

the sunrise of Yom Haatzmaut gives
the celebrating crowd a hint that the
time has come to go home to sleep
for a few hours.
Yom Haatzmaut day, for those
who manage to rest from the
evening events, is marked with
family celebrations. The roads are
jammed with cars taking thousands
of families to the forests and resort.
areas for a day in the outdoors and
picnicking. Lake Kinneret and the
Mediterranean seashore are filled
with families enjoying the beaches
and fresh air. On their way to the
picnic area families may take part in
community celebrations or a cultural
event to be offered by one of the
community centers, municipalities or
cultural organizations.

The community centers have
children's programming related to
the occasion, parties for teenagers
and activities for senior adults, art
exhibits and much more.
Jerusalem is undoubtedly the
focal point for the celebrations.
Israelis from all over the country
and from all walks of life gather in
the city for sightseeing and to take
part in the many events and
activities that take place in the city.
Many visit the Kotel, the Knesset,
the Israel Museum and other
landmarks. Kibbutzim and
moshavim organize community-wide
events for their members and
guests. A festive dinner is served in
the kibbutzim and in some of them
a special Haggadah will be read.
The seder that marked Passover will
be repeated in a version changed to
suit the event. Israeli flags greet
visitors to those settlements and
they can be seen above most
The army's contribution of the
day substantiates the saying that it
is the "People's Army." Many bases
are open for citizens and tourists
to visit and get acquainted with the
army. Visitors can climb aboard
tanks, airplanes and boats, and can
speak with high ranking army
officers. They can see and handle a
variety of weapons and feel at home
in the army base. Weapons, exhibits
and shows are held on the week of
Yom Haatzmaut in many
communities to strengthen ties
between the people and the
defense forces.
The day ends for many
celebrants in crowded concert
halls. The sense of unity and pride
that prevails on this day is
cherished and maintained in the
year ahead.

Israeli Flag Emblem Of A People

The Shield of David acquired
its status as a recognized Jewish
symbol only as late as the middle
of the 17th Century. Official use
of it was first made by the heads
of the Jewish communities of
Prague and Vienna, spreading
from these places all over the
world. The aristocratic Jewish
families of Rothschild and
Montefiore incorporated it in their
family arms. The early Hibbat
Zion societies used it as a
national emblem (i.g., in their
official seals), generally inscribing
the word Ziyyon on it.
Theodor Herzl, who was not
aware of the emblems used by
the Hibbat Zion movement, made
the following entry in his diary
(June 12, 1895): "The flag that I
am thinking of — perhaps a
white flag with seven gold stars.
The white backgound stands for
our new and pure life; the seven
stars are the seven working
hours: we shall enter the
Promised Land in the sign of
work." This was also the flag that
he proposed in The Jewish State
Under the influence of the
Zionist societies he accepted the
shield of David as the emblem of
the movement, but he insisted
that the six stars should be
placed on the six angles of the
shield of David, and the seventh
above it. In this form, with the
inscription 'Aryeh Yehudah" (the
Lion of Judah) in the middle, the
Shield of David became the first
emblem of the Zionist

The combination blue and
white as the colors of the Jewish
flag is first mentioned in the latter
third of the 19th Century. In his
poem Zivei Ere: Yehudah (1878)
the poet L. A. Frank) declaims.

All that is sacred will appear
in these colors:
White — as the radiance of
great faith
Blue — like the appearance
of the firmament.

As soon as the State of
Israel was established, the
question of its flags and emblems
arose. Public opinion was
unanimous in favor of proclaiming
the flag of the Zionist movement
as the state flag, but there was
some apprehension lest this
might cause problems to foreign
members of the movement. The
Provisional Council of State
therefore decided only on flags of
the navy and the merchant
marine, and it was not until six
months after the state had been
proclaimed that the form of the
national flag was determined; it
was to be the flag of the Zionist
movement, consisting of a white
rectangle, with two blue stripes
along its entire length and a
Shield of David in the center
made up of six stripes forming
two equilateral triangles. In the
original resolution, the color of
the stripes and the Shield of
David was described as "dark
sky-blue," but this was later
changed to "blue" for better
visibility at sea.

From Encyclopedia Judaica

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