Yom Ha’atzmaut—Israel Independence Day—Placing our Trust in the Rock

'Happy Israel Independence Day!' written on a blue graphic with Star of David in background.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut is translated as “Day of Independence.” It is also known as Israel Independence Day. Yom Ha’Atzmaut was founded on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. It is the celebration of the declaration and establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar, 5708).

When Is Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebrated? (Why Isn’t it Celebrated on May 14th?)

Israel was born on the fifth day of Iyar in 1948, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is celebrated each year on or around that day. When there is a conflict with the Sabbath day, the celebration may be moved one or two days before or after the 5th of Iyar (which changes from year to year). The corresponding Gregorian calendar date for Israel Independence Day will usually fall between late April to early May. 

How is Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebrated in Israel?

Similar to Independence Day in the United States, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a national holiday in Israel. Families celebrate with picnics and barbecues! Flags fly high, and the citizens of Israel and those who love her rejoice in her liberty. 

David Ben Gurion’s Speech on Yom Ha’Atzmaut—Israel Independence Day

David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, began his first speech to the newly formed Nation of Israel with this moving recollection of her history…

“The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. 

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. 

“Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma’pilim [(Hebrew) – immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.” (emphasis added)

Recognizing Theodore Herzl and the First Zionist Congress of 1897, who declared the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country, and citing the holocaust along with the many difficulties and dangers the surviving Jews faced to resettle in the land of Israel from all over the world, David Ben Gurion continues…

“This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State. 

“Accordingly we, members of the people’s council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” (emphasis added)

Establishing the official date of the declaration and the appeals for the Jewish people throughout the nations, Ben Gurion ends his stirring speech with these words…

“Placing our trust in the ‘ROCK OF ISRAEL,’ we affix our signatures to this proclamation at this session of the Provisional Council of State, on the soil of The Homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 (14th May, 1948).” (emphasis added)

What a powerful declaration and testimony to the goodness of God and His redemption—placing our trust in the Rock of Israel! 

  • The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”—Psalm 18:2 (emphasis added)

“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’”—2 Samuel 23:3 (emphasis added)

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How Does Israel’s Independence Day Fulfill Prophecy?

A Day of Mourning | Yom HaZikaron

The day before Yom Ha’Atzmaut—Israel Independence Day—is Yom HaZikaron. This is Israel’s Memorial Day, a day to remember those who lost their lives fighting for Israel’s right to exist, her fallen soldiers, and victims of terrorism. It is a solemn day to recognize those who fought to birth the nation as well as those who have died fighting for her continued existence. 

Traditional observance of the day begins on the evening before the day, with a siren blasting for one minute at the Western Wall. The next day at 11:00 a.m., the siren blasts again. This time for two minutes. Everyone pauses and stands in silence. People driving even pull over as they remember and honor those who lost their lives. 

A Day of Rejoicing | Yom Ha’Atzmaut

As the new day begins, rejoicing is heard. Celebration erupts around Israel as many gather and rejoice for Israel Independence Day

On May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, announced the new state of Israel. 

A prophetic fulfillment of God’s promises—Israel was birthed in a day. 

  • “‘Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?’ says your God.

“‘Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.’”—Isaiah 66:7-11 (emphasis added)

A prophetic fulfillment from Ezekiel—Israel was gathered from every side and brought into their own land. “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.”’”—Ezekiel 37:21-22 (emphasis added)

Olive tree in the Desert.

A prophetic fulfillment from Isaiah—Ben Gurion’s statement, and recent history, of Israel’s desert, blooming. 

  • “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing…”—Isaiah 35:1-2 (emphasis added)

The Takeaway for Believers| Israel Independence Day

Not only can we honor and celebrate with Israel her independence, but we can also rejoice in the hope that we have a God who stays true to His Word! He is restoring Israel; He is restoring His Bride; He is restoring you!