by Arlene Berg
YOM HA-ATZMA’UT – pronounce “YOM” to rhyme with “comb.” Pronounce “HA” with a short “a.” In “ATZMA’UT” the two “A’s” are short, and “UT” rhymes with “flute.” The accent is on the “UT.”
YOM HA-ATZMA’UT – Hebrew for “Day of The Independence” – “Israel Independence Day. ”
“Hear ye, our brethren! Today, 70 years have elapsed since the beginning of our redemption, marked by the establishment of the State.”
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018 (begins at sundown) and ending on sundown, April 19, this poignant statement will be proclaimed in some synagogues worldwide, followed by the sounding of the shofar, or ram’s horn. Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, or Israel Independence Day, will be celebrated on the fifth of the Jewish month Iyyar. The Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar, rather than the solar, and thus have no fixed dates from year to year. This important holiday marks the anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948.
In Israel, the festivities begin the night before with a solemn ceremony on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, the grave-site of Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, through whose vision and efforts the Jewish Homeland became a political reality. The Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) ushers in the celebrations by lighting a torch, after which 12 other torches are lit, symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel. The ceremony ends with a gun salute, corresponding in number of rounds with the years of independence. The next day military parades are held, as well as other activities honoring those, deceased and living, whose sacrifices have made Israel’s independence possible. Prayers are also said for these deceased heroes.
In contrast to these solemn ceremonies, there are also firework displays, parties, dancing in the streets, picnics, sports events, and organized open-air entertainment. The International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth is also held. The participants compete before a packed hall, and a nationwide radio audience listens with the greatest interest!
Outside of Israel, Yom Ha-Atzma’ut is marked by public gatherings honoring this important day and by special services in synagogues which include particular readings and prayers. If you live near a Jewish community, perhaps you could attend a Yom Ha-Atzma’ut celebration and show your love and support for the Jewish people and for the land of Israel, especially during these very dark days when so many are against Israel! What a testimony this would be for Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah!
In Israel, the morning service in synagogues includes the following remarkable prophecies from Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 11:9,12: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. . .and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
The festive evening service the night before is introduced by Tehillim (Psalms) 97, 98, and 107, all songs of thanksgiving to God. The service concludes with the sounding of the shofar and the following striking prayer: “May it be thy will, that as we have been deemed worthy to witness the beginning of redemption, so also may we be deemed worthy to hear the shofar announcing the Messiah, speedily in our days.”
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet (shofar) shall be blown, and they shall come who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” (Yesha’yahu 27:13).
What a day it will be when God restores the Jewish people to the land of Israel and gives them spiritual life in Yeshua HaMashiach! God says in Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 37:14, “And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land.” “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced. . . ” (Zecharya, Zechariah 12:10).
Won’t you pray that God will even pour out His Spirit upon individual Jewish people today and bring many of these dear ones to Himself!