Independence Day in Israel
Yom Ha-Atzmaut (pronounced ‘ahtzma-oot‘) is a national holiday in Israel commemorating the signing of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The document, officially dated to coincide with the termination of the British Mandate on May 15, 1948, was proclaimed by the Israeli government on the fourteenth because the fifteenth was a Sabbath day.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence concludes with a clause testifying to her trust in God:
With trust in the Almighty we set our hands to this Declaration at this session of the Provisional State Council on the soil of the Homeland in the City of Tel Aviv on the Sabbath Eve on the Fifth of Iyar 5708, the fourteenth of May, 1948.”
Yom Ha-Atzmaut is a moveable date because it is based on the Hebrew calendar. This year the holiday falls on April 18th. As many of our fellow Jews in Israel celebrate Yom Ha-Atzmaut in a time of turmoil and uncertainty in the Middle East, we petition God’s continued protection upon the Land.
As believers in God and in his Word, we recognize God’s promise to Abraham concerning the Land. (In Genesis 12:7 we read, “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land…”) We acknowledge that kingdoms rise and fall by divine consent, but we know that victory, success and achievement often give rise to trust in self rather than dependence upon God.
So we pray for the state of Israel and for each of her citizens, that in this year’s independence commemoration they might remember to give glory to God and acknowledge their dependence on the Holy One who has allowed them to inhabit the land he promised to Abram.