Yom HaAtzmaut Sources
Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel (based on the translation by the Encyclopedia Judaica)
"Eretz 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'apilim (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. In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodor Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.
This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-lsrael and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.
The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people - the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe - was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-lsrael the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of this community of nations.
Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-lsrael, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.
In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom and peace loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.
On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-lsrael to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.
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-lsrael, and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-lsrael 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-lsrael, to be known as The State of Israel...
The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the ingathering of the exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations...
We appeal to the Jewish people throughout the diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-lsrael in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.
Placing our trust in "Tzur Yisrael" (literally "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 lyar, 5706 (14th May, 1948.)..
Ha-Tlkvah, composed by Naphtali Hertz Imbar, 1878
As long as deep in the heart
The soul of a Jew yearns
And towards the East
An eye looks to Zion
Our hope is not yet lost
The hope of two thousand years
To be a free people in our land
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
From the Rinat Yisrael Prayer Book
"Festival clothing is worn and then the community gathers in the synagogue... the evening prayer is recited in a festive melody.. .The cantor recites the following, and the congregation repeats:
Hear 0 Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.
The Lord is God (3 times)
The cantor recites the following, and the congregation repeats:
May He who has performed miracles for our ancestors and for us and Who has redeemed us from slavery to freedom, redeem us speedily with the ultimate redemption. May He gather our scattered ones from the four corners of the earth, all of Israel becoming comrades. Now let us respond: Amen
The cantor reads: (from Numbers 10:9-10)
When you are at war in your own land against an aggressor who attacks you, you shall sound short blasts on the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God and be delivered from your enemies. And on your joyous occasions, your fixed festivals and new moon days, you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being. They shall be a reminder of you before the Lord your God: I the Lord am your God."
The Shofar is blown with one long blast and all declare:
Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem
The entire congregation recites:
"May it be your will, Lord, our God and the God of our forefathers, just as we have merited the start of the redemption, may we also be worthy to hear the sound of the Shofar of the Messiah, speedily in our days."
The following Psalm (126) is sung to the tune of Hatikvah:
A Song of Ascents.
When the Lord restores the fortunes of Zion - we see it as a dream - our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them!" The Lord will do great things for us and we shall rejoice. Restore our fortunes, 0 Lord, like water courses in the Negev. They who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. Though he goes along weeping, carrying the seed-bag, he shall come back with songs of joy, carrying his sheaves"
The "Ani Maamin" is sung:
I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may tarry, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.
Congregants greet each other:
Joyous holidays towards full redemption!
A festive meal is eaten accompanied by songs of praise. During the meal candles should be lit"
Louis D. Brandeis: "Zionism is Consistent with American Patriotism This address was delivered at the Conference of the Eastern Council of Reform Rabbis in June, 1915.
"Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with Patriotism. Multiple loyalties are objectionable only if they are inconsistent. A man is a better citizen of the United States for being also a loyal citizen of his state, and of his city; for being loyal to his family, and to his profession or trade; for being loyal to his college or his lodge. Every Irish American who contributed towards advancing home rule was a better man and a better American for the sacrifice he made. Every American Jew who aids in advancing the Jewish settlement in Palestine, though he feels that neither he nor his descendants will ever live there, will likewise be a better man and a better American for doing so.
Note what Seton-Watson says: America is full of nationalities which, while accepting with enthusiasm their new American citizenship, nevertheless look to some centre in the old world as the source and inspiration of their national culture and traditions. The most typical instance is the feeling of the American Jew for Palestine which may well become a focus for his declasse kinsmen in other parts of the world. There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American. Not since the destruction of the Temple have the Jews in spirit and in ideals been so fully in harmony with the noblest aspirations of the country in which they lived. America's fundamental law seeks to make real the brotherhood of man. That brotherhood became the Jewish fundamental law more than twenty-five hundred years ago. America's insistent demand in the twentieth century is for social justice. That has also been the Jews' striving for ages. Their affliction as well as their religion has prepared the Jews for effective democracy. Persecution broadened their sympathies. It trained them in patient endurance, in self-control, and in sacrifice. It made them think as well as suffer. It deepened the passion for righteousness. Indeed, loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew become a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its strivings can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance. The Jewish spirit, so long preserved, the character developed by so many centuries of sacrifice, should be preserved and developed further, so that in America as elsewhere the sons of the race may, in the future, live lives and do deeds worthy of their ancestors. But we have also an immediate and more pressing duty in the performance of which Zionism alone seems capable of affording effective aid. We must protect America and ourselves from demoralization which has to some extent already set in among American Jews. The cause of this demoralization is clear. It results in large part from the fact that in our land of liberty all the restraints by which the Jews were protected in their Ghettos were removed and [the] new generation [is] left without [the] necessary moral and spiritual support. And is it not equally clear what the only possible remedy is? It is the laborious task of inculcating self-respect, a task which can be accomplished only by restoring the ties of the Jew to the noble past of his race, and by making him realize the possibilities of a no less glorious future. The sole bulwark against demoralization is to develop in each new generation of Jews in America the sense of noblesse oblige. That spirit can best be developed by actively participating in some way in furthering the ideals of the Jewish renaissance; and this can be done effectively only through furthering the Zionist movement. In the Jewish colonies of Palestine there are no Jewish criminals; because everyone, old and young alike, is led to feel the glory of his people and his obligation to carry forward its ideals. The new Palestinian Jewry produces instead of criminals, scientists like Aaron Aaronsohn, the discoverer of wild wheat; pedagogues like David Yellin; craftsmen like Boris Schatz, the founder of Bezalel; intrepid Shomrin, the guards of peace, who watch in the night against marauders and doers of violent deeds."
Also on the WUJS site:
Yom Haatzmut Activities.
Ceremony for Yom HaZikaron/Yom Haatzmaut.
The very basics on the Israel Day of Independence.
This year's dates for Yom Haatzmut can be found in our WUJS Year Mapper.