Celebrating the State of Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel - At sundown on Monday evening, Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) ended and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day) began.

The country literally transitioned from mourning its fallen heroes - IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers who gave their lives defending the nation, as well as those killed in terror attacks - to celebrating the establishment and accomplishments of the modern State of Israel.

The nation celebrates Independence Day with its whole collective heart.

Flags are everywhere - on buildings, cars, streets, store windows, lawns, and roof tops - and they speak in their own right of Israel's heart and soul.

The blue stripes against a white background with the Magen David - literally Shield of (King) David - in the center - represents to the Jewish heart nearly 4,000 years of Israel's history, dating from the biblical patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, right up to the present day.

The flag gets its design from the tallit, the prayer shawl worn by Jewish men in the synagogue on Shabbat (the Sabbath) and when praying at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem's Old City.

Designed by David Wolffsohn, who reasoned that the tallit had always been the symbol of the Jewish people, it was originally adopted in 1897 by the first Zionist Congress in Basle.

"Why do we search? Here is our national flag…Let us take this tallit from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations," Wolffsohn said.

At sundown, the flag on Mount Herzl, which had flown at half mast for 24 hours, was raised to the top of the flagpole, ushering in Yom Ha'atzmaut, a day to reflect on the nation's amazing accomplishments in its short 62-year modern history.

The celebration began with a festive program at Mount Herzl, broadcast live on Israeli television. Most government leaders and their spouses were in the audience.

The colorful program ended with the singing of the national anthem, Hatikvah (the hope).

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, with eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, then our hope - the 2,000-year-old hope - will not be lost: to be a free people in our land - the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, others took to the streets to dance rikudei am (folk dance), sing favorite Israeli songs and watch fireworks displays.

On Tuesday, barbeques and picnics will be the order of the day. Everywhere, the pungent smell of chicken and steak roasting on grills in backyards and patios and at parks nationwide will permeate the air.

Everyone wishes each other Hag Atzmaut Sameach - Happy Independence Day - spoken with the same stalwart determination that has helped Israel look forward to a bright future despite those who would prefer it have no future at all.

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.