Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars
and Israel Independence Day

6-7 May 2003 – 4-5 Iyar 5763

The national anthem: Hatikva

Israel Independence Day is celebrated annually, according to the Hebrew calendar, on 5 Iyar, the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. This year it will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 7. The day preceding this celebration is devoted to the memory of those who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence.

On Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day, which will begin on Monday evening, May 5, the entire nation remembers its debt and expresses eternal gratitude to its sons and daughters who gave their lives for the achievement of the country’s independence and its continued existence. It is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with awe and honor for the fallen.

Number of soldiers and security personnel who have fallen since the War of Independence 19,914

Total number fallen (including the pre-State period)
This number includes disabled IDF veterans who later died from their wounds and non-IDF personnel who fell in the line of duty. 21,540

Number of soldiers killed since Remembrance Day last year 254

David Ben-Gurion declares the establishment of the State of Israel Israel’s 55th Independence Day celebrations will commence on Tuesday evening, May 6, when the state flag is raised to full mast at a national ceremony on Mount Herzl, at which twelve torches are lit.

With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost two thousand years earlier, was restored.

Independence Day is a celebration of the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the birthplace of the Jewish people. In this land, the Jewish people began to develop its distinctive religion and culture some 4,000 years ago, and here it has preserved an unbroken physical presence, for centuries as a sovereign state, at other times under foreign domination. Throughout their long history, the yearning to return to the Land has been the focus of Jewish life.

Message from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

To the Diasopra Communities on the Occasion of the State of Israel’s 55th Independence Day On the occasion of Yom Ha’atzmaut, it is my great pleasure and privilege to send you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Fifty-five years ago, the State of Israel was forged in struggle. Since then, we have built an independent Jewish democracy, making great strides in fields such as medicine, technology, agriculture and the arts while simultaneously fighting for our existence. Our cities have flourished, and we have absorbed millions of immigrants – from 102 countries – who conduct their lives in Hebrew, the ancient language of the Bible. From these accomplishments we derive the strength and resilience to persevere, even in the face of challenge and adversity.

The future of the Jewish people rests on our combined shoulders. With our common history, heritage and mission as our guide, we are certain to achieve even greater heights in the future. I call upon each of you to personally take part in the Zionist enterprise – by making Aliyah and joining us here. Aliyah is vital to the continued existence, growth and prosperity of Israel. Together, we will succeed in bringing peace and security to our nation and homeland.

Mazal Tov and Chag Sameach.

Ariel Sharon