Why Is Yom HaZikaron The Day Before Yom HaAtzmaut?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

Yom HaZikaron is Israel's Memorial Day and Yom HaAtzmaut is Israel's Independence Day. On Yom HaZikaron, Israel remembers and honors military troops who have given their lives in protecting the country. The implicit message of the timing of the two days is that without their service, there would be no opportunity to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. Israel also honors those who were victims of terrorism.

On Yom HaZikaron, Israelis pause to remember. Places of entertainment are closed and two-minute sirens sound 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 service of their country.

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

Each year, Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut begin at sundown on back to back days. You can review our holiday calendar to see when these holidays fall this year.