Map of Israel, Star of David, and Four Zionist Leaders: (from top left, clockwise) David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, Theodor Herzl, and Yitzhak Rabin


Flag of Israel
On Yom Ha'Atzmaut, or Israel's Independence Day, Jews commemorate the 1948 declaration by David Ben-Gurion of the birth of a modern Jewish state in former British-controlled land, ending 2,000 years without a sovereign Jewish Country. Yom Ha'Atzmaut takes place on the 5th of Iyar, the day after Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, in order to remember that the state's existence was fought for by the soldiers who gave their lives for it. This year, observance of Yom Ha'Atzmaut will begin at sundown on May 9th, 2011. Israelis celebrate the formation of their state by having parades, parties and watching fireworks. Diaspora Jews celebrate similarly, often through parades, rallies in support of Israel and by singing "Hatikvah," Israel's national anthem. People may also celebrate by immersing themselves in Israeli culture, eating Israeli food and listening to Israeli music. Click here to read the May 15, 1948 New York Times article on Israel's independence.

Israel's Emblem -- the MenorahLinks to JOI's "Intermarriage Q and A" Israel Questions:

Do the Jews Have Their Own Country?
A Brief History of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora
Is Zionism Racism and/or Colonialism?
What is the Current Dispute Between the Israelis and Palestinians?
According to Israeli Law, Are Converts Considered Jews?
Where can I find more information about Israel?