Why does Yom HaZikaron fall the day before Yom HaAtzmaut?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Yom HaZikaron is Israeli Memorial Day and Yom HaAtzmaut is Israeli Independence Day. On Yom HaZikaron, Israel remembers and honors the soldiers who gave their lives in both the War of Independence and in protecting Israel since. Without their service there would be no opportunity to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. On Yom HaZikaron, Israelis pause to remember. Places of entertainment are closed and two-minute sirens are sounded throughout the country. People stop their cars and stand in silence. In a small nation like Israel, most Israelis have served in the armed forces and sadly, most people know families who have lost loved ones in the protection of their country.

From a day of mourning, the entire nation turns to celebration. Yom HaAtzmaut is marked by parties, barbecues, and outdoor concerts. Family and friends gather for parties and visits to the country’s cultural institutions.

This year Yom HaZikaron begins at sundown on Tuesday, May 7 and concludes at sundown on Wednesday, May 8. Yom HaAtzmaut begins immediately after that, concluding at sundown on Thursday, May 9.