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April 28, 1989 - Image 141

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-28

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A Toast
To Jewish Living

Independence Day U.S. and Israeli-Style


Benny Schwarz, a native of
Kibbutz Afikim and a doctoral
candidate in architecture at the
University of Michigan, is the author
of this month's main L'Chayim
feature. For each issue of L'Chayim,
a rabbi, a Jewish educator or other
notable from the community will
present an overview of the month's
Israel's annual independence
celebration is bittersweet. It is
marked on one hand by the
solemnity of Yom Hazikaron —
Memorial Day — on the day before

and by singing and dancing in the
streets on the day of Yom
Ha'atzma'ut as a show of
thankfulness that the Jewish state
has survived another year.
Yom Hazikaron is a day when
all Israelis pay tribute to those who
gave their lives for the state. It is a
national day of mourning because
almost everyone lost someone in a
war or other action. The official
observance is marked by special
ceremonies and prayers said in the
military cemeteries. The
government-owned television station
broadcasts stories about people
who died. Israel radio airs songs of

nostalgia. The songs create a
solemn atmosphere.
The day is marked by sirens,
one the night preceding Yom
Ha'atzma'ut to begin day, one
marking a moment of silence for the
deceased and another at 7 p.m. to
conclude the mourning of Yom
Hazikaron and to start the festivities
for the independence celebration.
But a damper is put on the
celebration because one cannot
forget that people died in order for
the state to survive.
During the first years of the
state, the celebration of Yom
Ha'atzma'ut took on an air of

spontaneity and people lined the
streets of Tel Aviv or Haifa to watch
a big military parade. Except for the
last parade in 1968, it was never
held in Jerusalem because it was
perceived by non-Israelis to be a
military action. But, in 1969, the
government stopped the parade,
deeming it inappropriate as the
focal point of Israel's independence
celebration. The parade had given
Israelis a sense of pride in the
state's military prowess, but after the
1967 Six-Day War Israel was
perceived as having a powerful
defense and the government
Continued on Page L-4

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