Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The State of Israel was formally established on May 14, 1948, when the British relinquished control over the territory and Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared independence. The following day, armies from the surrounding Arab nations invaded the nascent Jewish state. After months of heavy fighting and casualties on both sides, the War of Independence officially ended in January 1949.

Independence Day is observed on the 5th of Iyar in the Hebrew lunar calendar, which means it falls on a different date each year in the western calendar.

Speaking at the official ceremony, Parliament Speaker Reuven Rivlin cautioned against extremism of all stripes, naming ultra-Orthodox Jewish zealots, ideologues who burn mosques and activists who delegitimize the state as "those who threaten the future of Israeli society."
Government statistics showed that Israel's population grew by 137,500 since last year to 7,881,000. The Central Bureau of Statistics said 75 percent of the population is Jewish and 21 percent is Arab. The remaining 4 percent represents tiny minorities or immigrants who are not Jewish.
Traditional Independence Day celebrations include dancing in city streets and family cookouts in national parks. Some military bases open Thursday for visits, and Israeli cities host open-air concerts in honor of the holiday.

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel guarantees freedom of worship to all citizens – Christians, Muslims, Jews and all others. 


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