Why is Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Early this Year?
Sponsored by Adam Burnat in memory of Ena Sheyna Bat Adam Yehuda and Malka Bat Zvi Mordechai, on their first Yahrzeit.


If according to the Hebrew calendar, Yom HaAtzmaut, the fifth of the Hebrew month of Iyar comes out this year on Friday night and Saturday, then why are we celebrating on Wednesday night/Thursday?

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel decided that in order to ensure that no Shabbat desecrations would be caused on account of the commemoration of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers) and celebrations of YomHaAtzmaut, the holiday should be moved up to Wednesday night/ Thursday.

Rabbi David Atzmon asks how this affects us from a religious perspective.

Should we still say festive prayers and Hallel (prayers of thanksgiving), celebrate with live music and get our hair cut even though it will only be the third of Iyar?

Rav Yaakov Ariel answers that we can’t separate the religious celebrations from the national celebrations. The Halachic side of Yom HaAtzmaut is all about prayer and thanksgiving and if you remove the religious aspect you are just left with commemorations and celebrations but not with a religious holiday.

Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook explained that making Yom HaAtzmaut early brings about a tremendous amount of Kiddush HaShem, Sanctification of God’s name among the nations.

Besides, Yom HaAtzmaut is also a rare day in Israel where families get a day off from work and school and can do melacha such as travel, have bar-b-ques etc. If it were commemorated on Shabbat we would lose out on this day off!

Enjoy the early Yom HaAtzmaut and remember that the holiday was made earlier in order to unite Israelis of all backgrounds. After all who would argue with getting an extra day off?